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Advanced Memoir: Maintaining Momentum
2 October at 08:00 – 17:00 EDT
This workshop on memoir is designed for people who have already studied at the intermediate or advanced level with Elaine Kalman Naves. Please don’t be daunted by the “advanced” label. All of you are at a level to benefit from this workshop if you’re interested in writing, reading, and talking about memoir!
Though you need not be working on a book- length narrative, you will be expected to have a specific project in mind. It can be something you were working on in a previous workshop or something entirely new.
During the course of the workshop, you will have the opportunity to submit a piece of up to 3000 words, and with luck you will have a chance to present a second time. (More details about this once we get rolling.)
Instead of a text, you will have the opportunity of reading some fine memoirs and the long lead-up to this fall workshop will give you a chance to do some advance reading. Please give priority in your summer reading to the terrific memoirs by the three writers who will be guest lecturers over the course of the session. (See below.) Once we have established who the actual workshop participants will be, I will also supply you with a list of suggested optional works to enjoy over the course of the summer.
The emphasis is – as always in any workshop – on student input. Participants will not only be presenting their own work to the group but will also be expected to give careful reading of each other’s pieces in order to provide vital critical feedback. This element of the program is equally important to the writing. As in the past there will also be in-class exercises and discussion of topics of writerly interest. In a new departure, we will start critiquing participants’ pieces at the very first session. Participants who volunteer to present early in the session will be much appreciated! Getting a head start will make it possible to present second drafts. Again, we will work out these details ahead of time once the class list is established.
Here are the names of the guest lecturers and their respective titles:
Charles Foran, Just Once, No More
Harriet Alida Lye, Natural Killer
Merrily Weisbord, The Strangest Dream; Our Future Selves; Love Queen of Malabar
And please don’t forget that William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is a great resource for matters of grammar and style!
To apply, please send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Advanced Memoir Application” no later than June 30, 2023. Your email must include:
1. a 3-5-page double-spaced writing sample (non-fiction or fiction) that you feel is representative of your abilities.
2. a paragraph or two outlining the writing project you plan to pursue in the workshop.
Elaine Kalman Naves is a long-time literary journalist and the author of seven non-fiction titles, and of a novel. She is a two-time recipient of the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, the winner of two Canadian Jewish Book Awards, and of a Canadian Literary Award for Personal Essay. Her memoir Journey to Vaja: Reconstructing the World of a Hungarian-Jewish Family has been made into a documentary film. Elaine’s novel, The Book of Faith, was nominated for the Leacock Prize for Humour. She has led workshops at the QWF since their inception in 1998. To find out more about Elaine, visit her website at http://www.elainekalmannaves.com/.