Transformative Memoir Writing: A Workshop
This workshop is part of Social Justice Week.
This workshop will look at ways to approach social justice issues purely through storytelling narrative from our lived experiences, and doing so to promote both justice and healing. We will read passages from memoirs that rely on story-only, with no commentary, and will do 2-page writing exercises that allow us to experiment in voice, tone, structure, and subtext. The goal is to create memoir writing that both transforms traumatic personal memory and impacts change among listeners/readers. We will look at the role of empathy (as writers and as citizens) in any social justice efforts. In workshopping each other’s Memoir writing, we will look at all of the above in addition to addressing more individual goals such as truth-telling, healing, and humor. In class we will use the Restorative Justice technique of “circle process” to build community in our classroom, to discuss ideas of social justice as well as personal and social change, and to workshop each other’s writing.
Michael Patrick MacDonald is the author of the New York Times Bestselling memoir, All Souls: A Family Story From Southie and Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion. He serves as Distinguished Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University’s Honors Department for which he leads a "Dialogue of Civilizations" cohort to post-conflict Derry & Belfast, in the North of Ireland. At Harvard University he teaches Restorative & Transformative Justice movements. At the grassroots level, MacDonald teaches his community-based writing and healing curriculum, The Rest of the Story, working alongside fellow survivors of poverty, violence & the drug trade to transform trauma & find voice on and off the page. He is working on his third book, due out next year.