4-Week: Writing the Short Memoir


The short memoir (10-20 pages) evokes an important experience in the writer’s life that, like an essay, transcends the personal to suggest philosophical or social significance. This publishable piece, a great contest entry, might be adapted from a longer work, explore an event that doesn’t “fit” in your full-length memoir, or start you off on a book. In the four-week workshop, writing exercises, discussion, and creative responses to readings will lead writers to discover the voice and structure of this short form. We’ll also talk about where to start, when to use scenes and summaries, excavating memories from hidden caves, and doing research to find material that amplifies the meaning of your past. At the end, we will workshop your drafts in small groups. You may choose to have the instructor review what you’ve written and offer suggestions for the next draft. This class may be taken more than once—an opportunity to  begin a different short memoir.  

Prerequisite: This is an Intermediate/Advanced class with an option for direct instructor feedback. Therefore students need to have taken at least one introduction or intermediate nonfiction class and should speak to the instructor before enrolling. To gain permission to register, please email a brief (3-5 pages) writing sample and workshop history to Info@lighthousewriters.org. 

Required Text:

To Show and to Tell, by Phillip Lopate

*Copies of this book are available to Lighthouse students at a 10% discount at the Tattered Cover on Colfax. Simply tell a Tattered Cover employee you are enrolled in a course at Lighthouse and they will direct you to where the books are shelved.

Upcoming Sessions:

Interested in this offering, but can’t make it this time around? Is the class already full? You can be notified when a new section of 4-Week: Writing the Short Memoir is added.

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