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Finding the Unique in Family Memoir:

My Family, My Treasure


How do you write a lively and fascinating family memoir? How do you draw and satisfy readers from in and outside the family? What issues arise when you delve into the treasure-trove of family and seek the narrative threads that will become your family’s story?

Your family is unique – a little different and a little the same as everyone else’s. Each family member has his or her own foibles, endearing characteristics or disturbing habits. Some of us, the fortunate ones, had loving grandparents; most families have at least one crabby uncle. And every family has secrets, closetfuls of skeletons whose rattles insist, eventually, on being heard.

Both Caterina and Jean faced these realities as they produced their own families’ stories. We came to understand the complexities of family story-telling: the benefits and anxieties, the need for accuracy and the need to handle certain materials with great sensitivity.

Through discussion and examples, this workshop will assist students in identifying the unique characteristics of their own families. The instructors will assist students in weaving family perspectives and personalities into an intriguing, readable narrative. Literary techniques such as voice, dialogue, evocation of time and place, as well as truth and viewpoint, will be considered as students practice bringing family members to life.

Whether you are just getting started, or whether your family memoir project is already underway, this workshop will help you sort out sensitive issues, choose which events or tales best portray your characters, and identify the impact of historical realities on family life.

Upcoming Workshops

Please check the Schedule page for currently scheduled workshops, and complete the 'Subscribe to our Mailing List' form to receive notifications.