The University of Iowa

Carol Spindel

Carol Spindel is the author of two nonfiction books, In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove and Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots, as well as radio commentaries, essays, and articles. In 2019 she edited and self-published her mother's memoir: The Beginnings of Black Radio: My Years at WDIA Memphis.

Her awards include a New York Times Notable Book Award, a PRNDI for Best Writing from the Public Radio News Directors, and an award for excellence in honors teaching from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she taught creative nonfiction for many years. Currently she makes pottery while pretending she's in Paris with the cubists and works as an ACLU activist. Her book I Give You Half the Road, about five people who left one rural community in Ivory Coast, West Africa, during a period of political turmoil, is forthcoming from University of Wisconsin Press.

Instructor Events

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Carol Spindel

In this workshop, we will start together from that infamous, exhilarating, and intimidating Blank Page. Working step by step, we will execute a series of assignments to create the building blocks of a personal essay. Then we will examine how those blocks can be snapped together in various arrangements to improve focus and unity, while enhancing connections and magnifying insights. Mid-week we will take a break to read, discuss and learn from model essays. Then we will ask ourselves how we could enrich our own narratives. How could they branch out?

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Carol Spindel

We all lead multiple lives, so no wonder it’s difficult to write a single memoir. And when our own lives are the subject, we have far too many subsidiary characters and subplots and know way too many details about all of them. This makes wrestling our memories into coherent literary form a bit like trying to organize an overstuffed closet, except in literature we don’t have plastic tubs or garage sales.

 

Weekend July 25 to July 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Carol Spindel

In this workshop, we will look at ways nonfiction writers can make their factual writing livelier and more compelling by writing in scenes. In a world where everyone is a photographer and videographer, storytelling styles have evolved to become more visual, and that evolution has influenced nonfiction. Even when reading for information, readers expect the narrative to unfold in dramatic scenes rather than through summary, description, and exposition.