Instructor: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Date & Time: Saturday, October 20 | 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: USM’s Glickman Library, Portland
12 FULL/WAIT LIST ONLY
Fee: Member: $75 | Nonmember: $130
Registration Closes: October 15
The memoirist is asked to play many roles: simultaneously that of author, narrator, and character. And while the roles of author (you, who sits at the keyboard) and character (younger-you, in the scenes you are recollecting) may be easily understood, the role of narrator is both the slipperiest and perhaps the most important.
As essayist and memoirist Vivian Gornick writes, “we pull from ourselves the narrator who can shape better than we can the inchoate flow of event into which we are continually being plunged.” The narrator is the one who both makes sense of and problematizes life. Essayist Philip Lopate reminds writers that the narrator must deliver to the reader what they’ve come to the book for: the sense that an active, searching mind lies behind the memoirist’s inquiry.
So much for the narrator to do! But who is this crucial construct, and how do you find yours? In this class, participants will discover what a strong narrator can give a memoirist—and how to define and strengthen their own.
The class will combine craft lecture, close reading and analysis of published work, and some brief exercises. Participants should bring ten pages of draft material to work with (these pages will not be shared with the class or instructor).
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, recipient of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir and the 2018 Chautauqua Prize. Named one of the best books of the year by The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, Audible.com, Bustle, Book Riot, and The Times of London, it was an Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, long-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize, and a finalist for a New England Book Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award. It has been published in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands; translations are forthcoming in Turkey, Korea, Taiwan, Spain, Greece, Brazil, and France. The recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, and Yaddo, as well as a Rona Jaffe Award, Marzano-Lesnevich lives in Boston and teaches at Harvard. VISIT alexandria-marzano-lesnevich.com
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