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“By writing memoir and personal essays, we give form to our histories and make something of meaning and beauty that is uniquely ours,” says instructor Katharine Harer. “I love this genre because you can be yourself, complete with your idiosyncrasies, strong opinions, flashes of wisdom and crazy moments. You can write about that time you got locked inside a porta potty at the Roman Colosseum, or how you learned to make plum jam from your grandfather, or your first kiss in fourth grade.”
In this five-week class, we’ll do generative writing exercises and optional homework assignments geared toward creating vivid scenes and characters, using fresh sensory details, and identifying our distinct voices, all of which are so important in making memoir and personal essays come alive. We’ll take inspiration from a variety of nonfiction writers—Ann Patchett, Ta-Nehisi Coates, David Sedaris and Maggie Nelson, among others—and practice giving and receiving encouraging, constructive feedback to develop and deepen our writing.
By the end of the five weeks, you’ll take home the basic tools you’ll need to continue writing memoir and personal essays, as well as one completed short draft and seeds for the development of several more.
Katharine Harer loves teaching creative writing. She has worked with hundreds, maybe thousands, of students in her over thirty-year career as a community college writing teacher at Skyline College and as a private workshop instructor. Katharine has published seven collections of poetry, the most recent, Deconfliction, in 2020, and a full-length volume of poems, Jazz & Other Hot Subjects, in 2016. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published widely in literary journals, newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. Her travel essay Delle Donne appeared in Best Women’s Travel Writing 2016 and a personal essay, Blue Flags & Painted Crosses, is forthcoming from Sonora Review in Tucson.
- Monday, October 22, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, October 29, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, November 5, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, November 12, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Monday, November 19, 7:00pm-9:30pm
I found Katharine's teaching style empathetic and helpful. She was always about improving, no matter what level we were at.
I think Katharine is a great teacher. She gives everyone respectful, individual attention. She lets everyone have their own opinion and encourages us to listen to each other with the same empathy.