University of Iowa

More than Memoir

Weeklong July 14 to July 19 2019

The memoir form often carries an unfortunate and limiting reputation as navel-gazing and dreary. Of course, the best memoirs do much more than meticulously document a writer’s dark past: they open up wide-reaching subjects; they find the universal through the personal. This workshop will explore work by writers who successfully weave in other subjects—history, ornithology, geography, music, and more—in order to create artful and ambitious literary nonfiction. Participants will discuss excerpts from such multidimensional memoirs, looking for techniques to borrow. They will also take part in numerous writing exercises to generate new work and stretch out the scope of any current projects. At the end of the week, we will share our writing together in a workshop focused on future possibilities for our projects.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts; provide feedback on writing you bring from home; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.