Memoir Writing Workshop Series Open to Students and Public

Workshops & Info Sessions

We all have enough life experience worth mining for a story, but how do we take these experiences and write about them in a meaningful way?

The “Tell Better Stories: Writing Memoir” workshop series is being taught by Heather Shaw at the NEWORK Space on Saturday, September 21, September 28, October 5, and October 12 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the NEWORK Space (14 N Park Place, Newark, Ohio). The series is free and open to the public.

Shaw is a freelance writer and winner of the Award of Excellence from the Columbus Arts Festival. She is teaching the foundations of memoir writing: how to write truthfully, how to write about the self, the pros/cons of writing from memory, and how to place your writing in a broader context as well as how to research, incorporate interviews, and revise your memoir.

The four-part series is a continuation of a workshop initiative called “Tell Better Stories” launched by Narrative Journalism at Denison in February 2019. The spring offerings were individual workshops led by local professionals focused on video production with smart phones, active listening for writers, and writing memoir.

“As part of the Mellon grant, we are tasked with supporting the work of writing for broad audiences on the campus and in the community. To that end, we launched the Tell Better Stories series last spring, and it was well-received by the community. ” says Jack Shuler, director of Narrative Journalism and associate professor of English at Denison. “We are excited to continue this series this fall with a more in-depth look at memoir since it was in such high demand last spring.”

After attending the first fall workshop, Denison student Smelanda Jean-Baptiste ‘21 said, “I thought it was really great to see members of the Newark community at this workshop sponsored through Denison. Everyone was really interested in telling their stories, and I thought it was so cool to see people having access to this resource to help us tell stories that are important to share.”

Shaw, who also led the workshop on memoir last spring, says, “I hope that people get a sense that this [writing memoir] is something that’s possible for them: it can be broken down into smaller chunks and is attainable. It’s so important because everyone has a unique story to tell and something to contribute.”

The workshops are open to anyone in the community who wants to learn how to write memoir. The four-part series is designed as stand-alone workshops so you can join at any time. The topics by week include “Introduction to Memoir” on September 21, “Researching Your Memoir” on September 28, “Interviewing for Memoir” on October 5, and “Revising Your Memoir” on October 12.

Shuler says, “I think memoir is a great way to get people engaged in nonfiction storytelling. Everyone has a story to tell and all they need, sometimes, is the support and guidance to make it happen.”

“Memoir makes your world a little bigger,” Shaw reminds us. “Anytime that you can get into someone else’s head, it gives you empathy and makes your world a little better.”

Space is limited in the workshops, and registration is required. To register, email narrativejournalism@denison.edu.

This event series is funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a gift by alumna Sue O’Donnell.

Posted Date 
Thursday, October 3, 2019

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