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Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop

Writing and Remembering: A Memoir Workshop

Term
Subject Area
Course Number
ENGL 516 640
Course Code
ENGL516640
Course Key
72393
Day(s)
Thursday
Time
5:15pm-7:55pm
Instructor
Primary Program
Course Description
This memoir workshop will shine light on the human experience as viewed through a personal lens. Your lens. Your curiosity. Memoir is usually written in first person from the author’s point of view. We will do meditation and visualization exercises to help you tap into and recreate key events in your life. In class sessions, the focus will be on stories that matter to you. We will discuss how to bring certain experiences alive for the reader through description, dialogue, and action. It is through rough drafts, followed by revisions, that your writing may achieve the connectedness and level of introspection you seek.
During the semester, we’ll mine the art and heart of personal narratives by reading a variety of authors who consider the differences between “fact,” “fiction,” and “truth” in life and literature. We’ll also examine how a memoir can illuminate larger cultural themes—from racism to misogyny, disabilities to class bias, and economic inequality, as viewed through lived experiences. The more individualized the story, the more universal it becomes.
In our sessions, we’ll do gallery view, full-participation discussions, and listening sessions to make the in-class writing exercises, meditations, movement, visualizations, and peer review workshops a vital experience. The workload requires a practice of focused free writing (10-15 minutes daily); weekly creative/personal responses to assigned readings, films and speakers (2-3 pages weekly); and continuing work on two or three short personal essays/stories (5 pages). We’ll make adjustments in the schedule as needed to keep the workload at a comfortable and flexible pace. If you have any questions, please contact kwatters@sas.upenn.edu.
Subject Area Vocab