You Are The Expert: A Craft Class About Writing Memoir with Vanessa Friedman

    Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 6:30 PM until Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at 8:30 PMEastern Daylight Time

    Instructor: Vanessa Friedman
    2 hour VIRTUAL sessions on Tuesdays
    6:30 to 8:30 PM EST
    Workshop is limited to 15 registrants

    Course Description
    When it comes to writing memoir and telling your stories, you are the expert. In this craft class we will read a wide variety of nonfiction by both emerging and award-winning writers and work together to examine how these pieces function and what tools the writers use to achieve their goals. The syllabus will include work by T Kira Madden, Leah Johnson, Natalie Lima, Jaquira Diaz, Kai Cheng Thom, Hanif Abdurraqib, and Shira Erlichman, to name a few, but is also subject to change based on conversations we have as a class and our collective interests and passions. 

    By the end of this course each student should have a more robust library to reference when thinking about nonfiction, an expanded vocabulary to talk about the craft of writing memoir, and both the practical skills and the enthusiastic spark necessary to tell their own stories.

    Students are responsible for completing weekly reading assignments and coming to class ready to discuss the reading each week. Students will also be asked to keep an observation journal that they will be encouraged to update daily but required to update weekly. 

    We will work on writing prompts together every class and students will be encouraged, but not required, to complete those writing assignments outside of class. I truly believe that you are the expert on the story of yourself, and that idea will be our guiding principle throughout our time together.

    Who Should Take This Class?
    Anyone who is interested in nonfiction writing and learning more about themselves and how to tell their own stories will feel at home in this class. Queer writers are especially encouraged to sign up, as the syllabus heavily features queer writers and my own lived experience is deeply informed by my queer community, but everyone is welcome. If you want to read carefully, observe closely, think deeply, and build a writerly community, this class is for you.

    Your Instructor
    Vanessa Friedman (she/her) is a queer dyke writer living in Portland, OR. She’s the community editor at Autostraddle and a teaching artist with 826NYC. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College,is a Tin House Summer Workshop alum, and recently attended Hedgebrook for a Spring Retreat. Vanessa writes about friendship, home, loneliness, grief, sex, and the body; her work has been published in Autostraddle, Nylon, Catapult, Alma, Shape, and elsewhere. You can find her online at   

    Vanessa is relentlessly supportive of her students' work, honoring their voices while encouraging them to continue improving their technique and understanding of genre. — Naomi Solomon, Director of Education at 826NYC

    I would not be the writer I am today without Vanessa’s feedback – every time she asked me to rewrite something with emotions at the center, new meanings emerged. — Mary Ann Thomas, Asking For Elephants

    Shout out to Vanessa for making me feel so freaking happy and included every time she spoke. — Camper Feedback from Autostraddle Camp 2018

    Class is full, but interested writers should sign up for our newsletter to be notified of future sessions. 

    Registration is no longer available because the registration capacity has been exceeded.