Instructor: Melanie Brooks
Date & Time: Saturday, August 19 | 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: Belfast Free Library
Maximum Attendees: 12
Fee: MWPA Member: $65 | Nonmember: $120
Andre Dubus III, acclaimed author of the 2011 memoir Townie, once said, “You don’t have to tell the family story. You have to tell your story of being in that family.” How, then, do memoir writers claim their voices to authentically tell their stories without getting sidetracked by the influence—either blatant or perceived—of family members who also stake claim in the experience?
In this workshop, attendees will explore the challenges of writing family memoir and exposing experiences and memories that intersect with the lives of others close to them. Participants will discuss topics including:
- unlocking family secrets
- trusting personal memories when others want to contradict them
- writing honestly when it risks alienating others
- writing with compassion and empathy for others and themselves
- navigating family relationships on and off the page
- the importance of securing support for their work from people outside of the family
These topics will be discussed in conjunction with insights from the words of other memoirists who have already done the hard work of telling their stories of being in their families.
Attendees will participate in writing prompts and exercises that will help them to begin shining their personal lens on the greater family experience. Each attendee will also have the opportunity to share a piece of writing from a personal essay or memoir-in-progress that enters family territory in some way and receive constructive feedback from other participants.
+ SUBMIT After registering, participants are asked to submit a manuscript (an excerpt from a personal essay or memoir-in-progress that focuses specifically on a shared family experience) of no more than 1,000 words by no later than 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 10. Please email the manuscript as an attachment (Word files are preferred, but PDFs are also acceptable) to email@example.com with the subject line: “BROOKS WORKSHOP MSS.”
Melanie Brooks is a freelance writer, college professor, and mother living in Nashua, New Hampshire with her husband, two children and yellow Lab. She’s the author of Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma (February 2017, Beacon Press). Melanie received her master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. She teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, Merrimack College in Andover, Massachusetts, and Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Bustle, The Manifest-Station, Hippocampus, the Huffington Post, Modern Loss, Solstice Literary Magazine, the Recollectors, the Stonecoast Review and Word Riot. She received the Michael Steinberg Prize for Creative Nonfiction in Solstice Literary Magazine’s annual contest. Her almost-completed memoir explores the lasting impact of living with the ten-year secret of her father’s HIV disease before his death in 1995. Her writing is the vehicle through which she’s learning to understand that impact.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED
All MWPA workshops require advanced registration. We accept registration by phone, mail, and online via PayPal. We cannot guarantee registration in the final 24-hours before a workshop, and can rarely accommodate day-of registration.
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If you prefer to pay by mail, please print this registration form (downloadable PDF) and mail it to the MWPA with a check or credit card information.
REGISTER ONLINE WITH PAYPAL
The MWPA is proud to offer one full scholarship to this workshop for members-only. Scholarships are awarded on a combination of need and merit. Application Due in the MWPA office on August 7 at 9:00 a.m.
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