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Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 10
System Requirements: To take a Writers Studio online class you will need:
  • A computer with a high-speed Internet connection
  • An e-mail account
  • Upon registration, you will receive information on how to access the online classroom via email.
Class Delivery: You will be invited to join your online class via email. Assignments, exercises, and critiques are all posted in the online classroom. Additionally, the weekly chat occurs within this classroom, and a transcript of the chat is saved there as well.
Teacher: Sylvie Bertrand

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this memoir writing class:

In accordance with CDC recommendations, all NYC classes will meet via video chat until further notice. Class will be held at the scheduled time and students will have the option of using video chat with or without the camera enabled, or simply calling in with their phones. The technology is supplied by Google and is extremely easy to use. The teacher will supply links and is available for support as needed.

The technology for attending class remotely is provided by Google Meet and is extremely easy to use. Your teacher will send you links and will provide support as needed. We hope you will continue to write and stay connected to our community during this time.

What is so challenging about writing a memoir is that you are asking yourself to take the charged events of your life and shape them aesthetically, so they appeal to a reader, a reader who doesn’t know you and doesn’t necessarily care what happened to you – unless you can make them.

Using the tried and true Writers Studio method, we will closely examine the work of writers who have been able to turn their very personal subjective stories into memoirs that are transcendentally universal. How did writers like Ed Hirsch, Annie Dillard or Joan Didion create a persona narrator who could tell their story? The answer, of course, is that successful memoir writers are able to think of themselves as characters in a story. In this eight-week course we will dive deeply into the techniques that served as a handrail for writers dealing with personal trauma. Each week we will read and emulate a different voice that has used first person to unlock the emotional power of a story or poem.

You know your story. It’s your story, but you want to familiarize yourself with the tools that will help you to tell that story in a way that is compelling, seductive or suspenseful. Often that means learning how to hold the subject matter out away from one’s self so that you can control the material, rather than be controlled by it. We will work with fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction to find the voice that works for you. During the workshop, a student will be asked to submit two pages each week to be critiqued by the teacher and other students with an opportunity in the final week to submit a longer piece.

This class is open to all current and former Writers Studio students as well as newcomers to the school.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy

Note: This provider has a temporary cancellation policy for COVID-19 related cancellations which is as follows: 

Cancellations made 3 or more days in advance will receive a full credit for a rescheduled date with this provider   


Original cancellation policy (non-COVID-19):

In accordance with NY state law, all tuition except $50 is refundable if cancellation is made at least one week before the first class meets. The $50 is applicable to a future class. Students eligible for applying the $50 to a future class must register by phone and mention the credit at the time of registration.

All tuition except $100 is refundable if cancellation is made less than one week before the first class meets. All tuition except $100 is refundable if cancellation is made by 5:00 pm on the fifth business day after the first class meets. If the class meets Mondays, cancellation must be made by 5:00 pm on the Monday following the first class. No refunds will be granted afterwards.

All classes and dates are subject to change and cancellation. The Writers Studio cannot be responsible for providing refunds or offering makeup sessions for classes missed as a result of students' illnesses, emergencies or events beyond the students' control. Please be advised that classes may go a little later or end a little earlier than the hours designated on the website. We make every effort to honor these designated times, but there is some variability.

Occasionally, a class may be canceled due to extreme weather conditions or other acts of God. We will make every effort to offer makeup sessions when it is possible, but no refunds will be granted in any case.

The Writers Studio reserves the right to deny service to anyone.

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Questions & Answers (3)

Get quick answers from CourseHorse and past students.

Question from anonymous
Who teaches this class?
Answer from Brenda L. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi there! The instructor for this class is Joel Hinman. Thanks!
Question from S A.
Hello, Monica B. from S (no period), I think I would benefit from an intensive with Hinman prior to joining the Memoir group. I realize this depends on whether Hinman & my schedule can fit in the time. I forget if the intensive is 1 or 2 hours. I know it costs $195. I appreciate your positive assurance of the class. I'm skittish. YT
Answer from Anonymous
Hi S. Yes, go ahead and register for a consultation and then the teacher will reach out to you and request work to review for your 1-hour session. Then you will know whether the class is right for you.
Answer from S A.
Hello, Monica, At last. To whom do I make out my check for $195.? To what address do I mail my payment? Will the $195. for an intense hour w/Hinman be applied to the course if we decide the class is right for me. YT SA
Show all 2 answers
Question from S A.
Hello, What I call memoir is a fiction of my paternal family's history 1901-1964. Is there a class that deals with historical fiction? What is the one day intensive in Memoir writing? Is the mentor then able to suggest the suitable class, or not? YT SA
Answer from Monica B. Verified Educator
This is the right class for you to take. Successful writing, whether it's fiction, poetry, or memoir, depends on creating the right narrator to tell the story, and that is what we teach at The Writers Studio. It sounds as though you want to write in the first person, from someone else's point of view, so this is really the perfect class for you. Enjoy!

Reviews of Classes at The Writers Studio (8)

(8 Reviews)
Memoir Workshop
Reviewed by Stacy M. on 3/24/2021
Memoir Workshop
Reviewed by Deana S. on 11/23/2018

School: The Writers Studio

The Writers Studio

Founded in 1987 by Philip Schultz, The Writers Studio welcomes beginning and experienced fiction writers and poets to ongoing writing workshops designed to help them discover and nurture their own voices. Hailed by The New York Times as "the most personal of the programs," The Writers Studio is founded...

Read more about The Writers Studio

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