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Fall 2019: Writing the Memoir 9 month Intensive

September 14, 2019 – May 23, 2020 Saturdays, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. 28 class meetings Class does not meet November 9, November 30 (Thanksgiving weekend), December 21 – January 18;


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September 14, 2019 – May 23, 2020
Saturdays, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. 28 class meetings
Class does not meet November 9, November 30 (Thanksgiving weekend), December 21 – January 18; March 7, 2020

Limited to 10 students

Taught by Jay Ponteri

This class for experienced and dedicated writers meets 28 times over the course of 9 months. The class begins in September, with the goal of finishing a complete draft of a memoir by June.

Participants do not need to be published writers; however, they should have some experience with elements of memoir, including character, setting, dialogue and scene, and have a clear project in mind that they will devote nine months to. They should also be comfortable in a workshop setting, giving and receiving criticism on works in progress.

Students who have taken Memoir Boot Camp one or more times at Literary Arts should find this class an appropriate next step. Memoir Boot Camp is not a pre-requisite. This class is specifically designed for writers who will benefit from spending a year with a community of writers that will support you in goal setting, meeting deadlines, honing your craft and getting the work done.

Class structure: Class time will be spent on focused discussions of crafts and outside readings from writers like Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson and other masters of the memoir form, in-class writing exercises and workshopping pages in progress. Students can expect to have their own work workshopped six times over the course of the year.

General course outline:

September – December: READY SET BEGIN
Setting a writing schedule: rewards and punishments
Eyes on the prize: How to begin when you don’t know the ending
Making the scene: techniques for writing compelling scenes
Keeping it real: Literal versus metaphorical truth

Getting past getting stuck
Yielding to detours: how to handle a shift in focus
The joy of outlining: how to make it work for you
I meant to do that: experimenting with form

Incorporating feedback without getting overwhelmed
The path to publication

For questions about the class please contact Susan Moore.

About the instructor: Jay Ponteri is the author of the memoir Wedlocked (Hawthorne Books), winner of an Oregon Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Jay directs the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing at Pacific Northwest College of Art and his work has appeared in Del Sol Review, Seattle Review, Cimarron Review, Puerto Del Sol, and elsewhere. His chapbook of short prose, Darkmouth Strikes Again, was published by Future Tense Books.


If you need to cancel your registration for a writing class, the following refund schedule applies:
• 3 days or more before a class: refunds will be issued, less a $35 processing fee.
• 3 days or more before class starts: if you prefer to convert your registration to a credit for an upcoming class, you can receive a tuition credit for an upcoming class for the full amount of your tuition, good for one year.
• 48 hours or less before a class begins: no refund or tuition credit is available.
If Literary Arts has to cancel a class, you will receive a full refund.