Instructor: Caitlin Shetterly
Date & Time: Thursdays, September 20 — November 29 | 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Location: USM’s Glickman Library, Portland
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Maximum Attendees: 12
Fee: MWPA Member $450 | Nonmember $600
Registration Closes: September 11

The best memoirists drop readers into their lives through vivid scenes, description, character, and a voice that is uniquely their own—just think of Jeannette Walls’ devastatingly straightforward cri de coeur The Glass Castle, or the earthy yet precise Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The best memoirists achieve the universal by sharing stories that are personal.

So, how do you find your own authentic voice to tell your story?

This 10-week memoir and personal essay workshop will guide writers through a series of exercises and readings focused on examining voice, as well as other topics central to writing memoir, such as:

  • employing the senses
  • layering stories and perspectives
  • winnowing one’s work down to the best sentences
  • and more.

Attendees will read works by writers including Barbara Kingsolver, Jeannette Walls, EB White, Ralph Ellison, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Andre Dubus III, Kate Christensen, John Updike, and others.

This intensive workshop will foster a warm, supportive environment for participants to grapple with stories that may be difficult for them to write.

+ SUBMIT After registering, participants are asked to submit a manuscript (a personal essay or memoir excerpt) of up to 5,000 words by no later than 9:00 AM on September 11. Please note that this will be the first of two manuscripts you will submit for feedback from the class and your instructor. Please email the manuscript to with the subject line: “SHETTERLY WORKSHOP MSS.” *Word docs (ideally) or PDFs only, please. 

DATES The workshop will meet every Thursday between September 20 and November 29, unless unforeseen scheduling issues should arise. 

PAYMENTS MWPA members may pay for this workshop in one payment, or may pay in three installments of $150, due at registration and the 20th of each month (October, November). *PLEASE NOTE If you have selected to pay for this multi-week workshop on the installment option, once registration for the workshop has closed, you are responsible for paying all of the remaining installments. If you should, for any reason, leave the workshop after registration has closed, you are still responsible for paying all of the remaining installments.

CEU The MWPA is proud to offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) for this workshop. The CEU is a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent in the classroom during non-credit learning. Ten hours of instruction equal one (1) CEU. (*Please note that by definition, CEUs are non-credit continuing education and therefore not transferrable as academic credit.)

ShetterlyCaitlin Shetterly is the author of Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future (Putnam, 2016) which was a winner of the Maine Literary Award for Best Nonfiction of 2016, was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by Publisher’s Weekly, and a Top Pick of 2016 by Goop; Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke and Finding Home (Voice, 2011); and the Indie bestseller Fault Lines: Stories of Divorce (Putnam Berkely Group, 2001).

Caitlin writes regularly for The New York Times and her work has been featured in The New York Times MagazineElle, Self, DownEast, and on the websites and Caitlin has been a regular contributor to NPR and PRI with stories on Weekend Edition, Morning Edition, This American Life, Studio 360 and various other public radio shows. From 2003-2007, Caitlin wrote the dating column for the Portland Phoenix. 

Caitlin lives with her two sons, husband, cat, rabbit and fish in Maine. She is currently at work on a novel set in her home state and a collection of interconnected poems about family and the environment.

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.

If you need to withdraw from a class after registering for any reason, please email or call the MWPA immediately. You may be eligible for a partial refund or credit, depending on how far in advance you cancel.

For any questions regarding this workshop, please contact Hannah Perry at

Call 207-228-8263 and register with your VISA or MasterCard.

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.



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 September 4 at 9:00 a.m.

Registration in any MWPA workshop, program, or event constitutes your agreement to our terms and conditions.