Basic Info
  • Nonfiction
  • Essay
  • Memoir

We all have stories inside of us. Stories to tell, to share. In fact, one might argue that we are stories —creating our lives, day to day, every day. One of today’s most exciting writing forms—the personal memoir— is swiftly becoming the narrative option and publishing entry for many writers willing to embark on journeys of self. Yet for a memoir to speak with any resonance or relevance, the writer must achieve a fragile balance between the self and others, between content and form. In this workshop, we will critique each manuscript from the standpoint of localizing what in your individual tale has a communal and cultural context, then explore the varied narrative means and structures to best convey that tale. We’ll also consider such questions as: What precisely is the difference between a reflective and narrative voice? Between fact and truth? Between the private and the public? Expect model readings, discussions, and varied exercises designed to help tap and shape your own life stories. The class invites writers working on book-length memoirs and/or individual essays.

Marc Nieson


Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His background includes children’s theatre, cattle chores, and a season with a one-ring circus. His memoir, Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape was released from Ice Cube Press in 2016. He’s won a Raymond Carver Short Story Award, Pushcart Prize nominations, and been noted in Best American Essays. He teaches at Chatham University, edits fiction for The Fourth River, and is at work on a new novel, Houdini’s Heirs. Learn more about Marc at