As part of my role as writer-in-residence at the Hemingway Birthplace Home, I will be teaching a four-week online class on how to write short memoir in May. I just wrapped up teaching this class in person in the parlor of the Hemingway House, and it was a truly lovely experience. What a setting! The online class will include video lectures from the Hemingway House (I think that will be extra fun!).

Through my many years of teaching memoir writing at StoryStudio Chicago, I’ve concluded that writers are more likely to find success by going small, by distilling one particular event into a short memoir rather than struggling with a book project. Your memoir can simply be a series of short pieces (which are, incidentally, also easier to publish), or you might, once you’re comfortable with the shorter form, venture to write a larger piece.

Here are some examples of short memoirs that my students have published and that are available online:

Wednesdays and Sundays by Susan Wigoda
Frozen by Barbara Coe
Surfacing by Kelley Clink

Incidentally, Kelley Clink has gone on to write a book-length memoir, A Different Kind of Same, that is coming out this June.

Each week this class will focus on one aspect of craft crucial to effective storytelling, as well as a particular realm of memory, such as writing about a favorite smell or a meaningful place. This will show you how to create vivid writing while also bringing to life a pivotal memory that has universal appeal.

Class begins May 4, runs for four weeks via email and a blog, and includes feedback on one manuscript (up to 1,000 words) from me and your classmates. I hope to “see you,” virtually anyway, at the Hemingway House!

Register through the Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.