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The Researched Memoir with Melissa Febos

$250.00 · August 10

In four weekly sessions, bestselling memoirist and essayist Melissa Febos will lead participants through the stages of writing a researched memoir from conception to publication.

Start Date

August 10

Day(s) of the Week

Saturday

Class Times

12:00pm – 2:00pm CT

Sessions

4

Location

Zoom (online)

Instructor

Price

$250

In stock

Description

While all memoirists know that all memoirs require research, this seminar will deal specifically with techniques for writing memoirs that contain a significant amount of external research: scholarly, investigative, historical, etc. In four weekly sessions, bestselling memoirist and essayist Melissa Febos will lead participants through the stages of writing a researched memoir from conception to publication. The strategies presented will be applicable to both book-length and short forms. Participants with new works in mind are as welcome as participants with works-in-progress.

Each class will consist of a lecture that combines nuts-and-bolts strategies, overall philosophy, specific examples, and summarizing handouts. Participants will not have opportunities to share their work and there will be no workshopping, although a significant portion of each class will be devoted to Q&A, and there will sometimes be in-class exercises. Lectures will be presented live; they will also be recorded so you can catch up on a class you missed or review the material again.

There will be no required readings, but there will be a suggested reading list.


Week 1: Getting Started: rumination, brainstorming, notes and timelines, outlines, and beginning research

Week 2: Finishing the First Draft: the evolving outline, staying organized, more research, facing fatigue, losing perspective

Week 3: Revision: macro and micro strategies, focused rewrites, outside readers, refining research

Week 4: Publication and Reception: pitching, selling, sharing with invested/implicated parties, fielding feedback


This class will include:

  • In-class writing exercises
  • Generative exercises
  • Editorial/revising strategies and exercises
  • Drafting/planning exercises
  • Craft talks

We have a limited number of scholarship spots for BIPOC writers, LGBTQ+ writers, and those with financial need. Please submit an application here to be considered for a scholarship spot. 


About Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos is the bestselling author of four books, including Girlhood—which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. Her fifth book, The Dry Season, is forthcoming in 2025 from Alfred A. Knopf. She has been awarded prizes and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, LAMBDA Literary, the National Endowment for the Arts, the British Library, the Black Mountain Institute, the Bogliasco Foundation, and others. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Best American Essays, Vogue, The Sewanee Review, New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. Febos is a full professor at the University of Iowa and lives in Iowa City with her wife, the poet Donika Kelly.