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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.

Prerequisite: This workshop is for writers who have completed memoir or personal essay classes at The Writing Salon or elsewhere.



    Kathleen McClung has mentored hundreds of writers at Skyline College, The Writing Salon, and other colleges, and she has taught/advised student teachers in the credential program at Mills College. She serves as a reviewer for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, sponsored by the Stanford University Libraries, sponsor/judge for the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition, and coordinator of Women on Writing community events. Her memoir, poetry, and fiction have been published in the Healing Muse, Unsplendid, Poets 11, Spirituality & Health, Tilt-a-Whirl, Tule Review, A Bird Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens, and elsewhere. In 2012 Kathleen won the Rita Dove Poetry Award, and Naomi Shihab Nye selected her work as the winner of the national poetry competition sponsored by the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, Almost the Rowboat, in January 2013.

  1. Sunday, October 1, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  2. Sunday, October 22, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  3. Sunday, November 5, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  4. Sunday, November 19, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  5. Sunday, December 3, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  6. Sunday, December 17, 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.

    Sue G.


Sunday, October 1, 2017 @ 2:00 pm
Mon, December 17 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


San Francisco
2042 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA United States
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4 available
Memoir Master Class$420.00

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Registration Deadline

Registration closes 24 hours before the start time for a class.

Refund Policy

There is a cancellation fee of 15% included in each registration. The Writing Salon will not issue a refund if a cancellation occurs within 48 hours of the class start time.

The Writing Salon cannot provide refunds, transfer payments, or offer makeup sessions for classes a student might miss, for any reason.

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