Telling Your Story: Permission & the New Memoirist
This workshop is part of MEMOIR & CREATIVE NONFICTION WEEK
The human compulsion to tell our stories makes us who we are; the act of crafting them into engaging personal narrative elevates them beyond the abstract. But the writing of memoir often begins with the daunting questions of permission, story ownership, and intimacy, which together can keep the new memoirist from moving into a place where voice and story are free to emerge. In this workshop, which will be both generative and workshop-focused, we will explore the magic in the mundane and the creation of engaging personal narrative, and tackle bigger craft questions that will enable the new memoirist to move beyond constraints of fear and ownership to a place of creative clarity. Come with the memoir you are working on, a willingness to unravel process and permission, and an acknowledgement that the impulse to tell one’s story must be honored.
Please bring to class 10 copies of ten pages, double-spaced, 12pt font, of your memoir project.
Elissa Altman is the James Beard Award-winning author of three memoirs: Motherland, Treyf, and Poor Man's Feast. Her work has appeared in LitHub, Orion, Narrative, The Rumpus, On Being, The Washington Post, and beyond, and has been widely anthologized. She has appeared live on the TEDx stage, at the Public Theater in New York with Wallace Shawn, regularly on NPR, and in 2020 was a finalist in memoir for the Lambda and Maine Literary Awards. She lives in Connecticut.