Crafting Memoir, Autobiography, and Auto-Fiction

Course tutor: Ambika Thompson
When: Wednesday evenings, 19:00-21:00
Date: October 23, 2024
Where: Another Country Bookstore
Number of sessions: 7
Maximum participants: 12
Cost: €240

Crafting Memoir, Autobiography, and Auto-Fiction

This workshop is designed for anyone interested in the art of memoir, autobiography, or auto-fiction writing, whether you are focusing on short pieces or longer personal narratives.

Email us at hello@thereaderberlin.com to sign up!

The workshop is divided into three main components:

1. Weekly Readings and Discussions: Each week, participants will engage with a selected reading from a supplied list. These readings will serve as a basis for discussing various elements of craft such as narrative structure, genre conventions, tone, voice, and thematic development. Our reading list emphasizes works by historically marginalized writers, fostering a diverse range of perspectives and experiences.

2. In-Class Writing Exercises: Following the discussion of the weekly reading, participants will partake in guided writing exercises designed to apply the discussed elements of craft to their own writing. These exercises aim to stimulate creativity, encourage experimentation, and reinforce the techniques covered in the readings.

3. Workshopping Participant Pieces: Each week, participants will have the opportunity to workshop their own short pieces. The workshop environment prioritizes creating a safe and supportive space for sharing work and providing constructive feedback.

Course Philosophy: Inspired by Melissa Febos’ “Body Work,” this workshop rejects the notion that writing about personal experiences—particularly those involving the body, sex, gender, violence, joy, childhood, and family—is merely “navel-gazing.” Instead, we celebrate the profound significance of these stories. As Febos argues, writing memoirs and personal narratives is an essential act of self-expression and resistance.

Course Goals:

  • – To develop a deeper understanding of the craft of memoir, autobiography, and auto-fiction writing.
  • – To provide a supportive environment where participants can explore and share their personal narratives.
  • – To help participants refine their writing through focused, constructive feedback and dedicated time for revision.
  • – To highlight and appreciate the contributions of historically marginalized writers in the field of personal narrative.

Who Should Enroll: This workshop is open to all levels of writers who are passionate about telling their personal stories. Whether you are a beginner or have some experience in writing memoir or auto-fiction, this course will help you hone your skills and gain confidence in your storytelling abilities.

By the end of this 7-week workshop, participants will have developed a greater appreciation for the art of personal narrative, gained practical experience in applying various elements of craft, and completed polished pieces ready for further development or publication.

Email us at hello@thereaderberlin.com to sign up!

AMBIKA THOMPSON  (they/them) is a writer, editor, and musician whose work has been featured internationally in publications such as Electric Literature, Riddle Fence, Crab Fat Magazine, Fanzine, Joyland, The Fiddlehead, and PANK, among many others. They earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Guelph University in 2019 and currently serve as a fiction editor at Berlin’s SAND journal. In 2021, they were a recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts Grant in Literature. Their dedication to nurturing emerging writers is evident, as many of their former workshop participants have successfully published their own works, including books, and have secured their own grants, awards, and residencies.

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