The focus of the workshop is to encourage and guide experienced writers in creating, revising, and potentially publishing short, stand-alone works of memoir. We will also read and discuss a variety of published memoir pieces and explore strategies for effectively submitting work to contests/publications.
“The artful memoir isn’t easy to knock off,” says instructor Kathleen McClung. “We need skill and nuance in narrating and musing on past events to make a cohesive whole. Memoirs that matter, that truly move readers, call for soul-searching and for mastery of essential literary elements—an engaging voice, vivid scenes and characters, a careful blend of action and reflection, a unifying thread/theme.”
This twice-a-month class is designed to engage and support writers in the challenge of telling their truest stories with language that shimmers on the page and with a steady writing and revising momentum. Kathleen will provide readings, writing exercises, and constructive group critiques. She will advise on the memoirist’s rights and responsibilities, as well as the paradox of preserving solitude and nourishing community.
By the end of this master class, in addition to completing 3-5 new pieces, memoirists will have a wider repertoire of techniques, new colleagues and connections, more richly layered writing, and more resilience for future projects.
* The first meeting of this workshop (April 14) is scheduled for 5:00pm-8:00pm. All other meetings will take place from 2:00pm-5:00pm.
** This workshop is for writers who have completed memoir or personal essay classes at The Writing Salon or elsewhere.
Kathleen McClung is the author of two poetry collections, The Typists Play Monopoly and Almost the Rowboat. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies including Southwest Review, Naugatuck River Review, Mezzo Cammin, The MacGuffin, Forgotten Women, Sanctuary, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and elsewhere. Winner of the Rita Dove, Morton Marr, Shirley McClure, and Maria W. Faust national poetry prizes, she is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition, she has mentored hundreds of writers at Skyline College, The Writing Salon, and other colleges and has taught/advised student teachers in the credential program at Mills College. For ten years she has directed Women on Writing: WOW Voices Now on the Skyline campus. In 2018-2019 she is a writer-in-residence at Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
- Sunday, April 14, 5:00pm-8:00pm
- Sunday, April 28, 2:00pm-5:00pm
- Sunday, May 5, 2:00pm-5:00pm
- Sunday, May 19, 2:00pm-5:00pm
- Sunday, June 16, 2:00pm-5:00pm
- Sunday, June 23, 2:00pm-5:00pm
I just want to say what a terrific teacher Kathleen McClung is. I am still writing — not quickly, not in vast quantities, but very happily — and I continually realize anew how much I learned from Kathleen. Her clarity and her explicit instruction about the elements of memoir have all been so helpful to me. I really feel like I have come away with a grasp of what good memoir writing needs to include. Not that I can do it all the time, and not that I don’t need a constant voice in my head reminding me of what I’ve been taught! But Kathleen provided the structure and the scaffolding for me to be able to build from there.