University of Iowa

Hope Edelman

Hope Edelman is the author of eight nonfiction books, including the bestseller Motherless Daughters and the eBook Boys Like That: Two Cautionary Tales of Love. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications, ranging from The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, and Real Simple to The Iowa Review,, and Assay. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year designation, as well as honors from the Medill Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University and the University of Iowa Alumni Fellows program. Hope lives with her husband and two daughters in Los Angeles, where she is working on a new book about the long tail of grief. This is her 18th summer teaching in the Festival. 

Instructor Events

Weeklong July 22 to July 27 2018

The first few pages of a memoir are the most critical ones. They determine whether readers become invested in your story, and whether they’ll follow it into Chapter Two. This course is for students of all levels who want to write a book-length memoir or have started one already and hope to “hook” readers from the start.


Memoirists face two essential tasks: First, to craft the episodic story of what happened in the past, and second, to reveal the story of one’s own change and growth over time. That second story is where the author’s larger message is conveyed, elevating one person’s experience from the unique and personal to the universal and shared. It reveals what your story is about. But how do we extract that deeper message from a story, and articulate it to readers in a meaningful way?