Constructing a Life in Writing:
An Introduction to Memoir and Personal Narrative
Wednesdays, October 11–December 6, 7–8pm
(No class on November 22, the day before Thanksgiving)
At Augustana Lutheran Church, GA Room (first floor) with the option to move to Zoom in the second half
Free; registration required; limited to 10 participants
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” –Graham Greene (1904–1991), novelist and journalist
“Memories too often die with their owner, and time too often surprises us by running out.”
–William Zinsser (1922–2015), writer and editor, including of the book
Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
“Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.”
–Robin Moore (1950– ), professional storyteller
In this course, students will read about constructing memoirs, discuss short excerpts from selected memoirs, and produce a number of pieces of personal narrative. The instructor will offer written feedback on students’ writing.
Writing assignments will cover such topics as opening lines; where one comes from, broadly defined; writing about historical events from a personal perspective; family anecdotes; and love stories. Readings may include pieces on writing by Joan Didion, Stephen King, Mary Karr, and William Zinsser, as well as excerpt from memoirs by Didion, Aarti Shahani, Javier Zamora, Tara Westover, Vladimir Nabokov, and Nora Ephron.
Wednesdays, 7–8 pm, October 11–December 6 (there will be no class on November 22, the day before Thanksgiving). The course will begin in person, at Augustana Lutheran Church, and move to Zoom for some/all sessions in the second half.
About the Instructor
Amanda Norton holds a PhD in Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago. She works in advancement communications at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and is currently pursuing an MFA in nonfiction and fiction at Northwestern University.
This program is made possible through a partnership with StoryStudio Chicago and the Chicago Stories Project.
is part of the Stories Matter Foundation, a 501c3 charitable non-profit whose mission is to build communities of storytellers trained to question, explore, celebrate, and change their worlds using the power of story. The Chicago Stories Project
is the community engagement arm of Stories Matter Foundation. Encompassing our "classes on the road" framework, as well as library partnerships, scholarships, and sponsorships, the Chicago Stories Project works to amplify voices from underserved communities in Chicago and beyond. Our vision is to help others first see value in their stories, then acquire the skills and confidence to document and share them with others. Through a love of writing and storytelling, we also foster respect and appreciation for the lives and experiences of others.