In Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, William Zinnser writes that “Good memoirs are a careful act of construction. We like to think that an interesting life will simply fall into place on the page. It won’t…Memoir writers must manufacture a text, imposing narrative order on a jumble of half-remembered events.” So, too, for shorter works spun from real life, such as personal essays.
This 8-week course will cover the fundamentals, with prompts and assigned readings offered between classes to keep the learning experience brisk and engaging. We’ll explore the ways in which techniques of narrative craft can be harnessed to impose order, or shape compelling stories out of real-life material. We’ll read examples of creative nonfiction including personal essays, narrative reportage, memoir excerpts, and flash creative nonfiction, and we’ll draft new works of our own. This class is for you if you love writing from your own life, are working on or towards a memoir, want to explore the many joys and diverse structures available to you in the personal essay, or just know you have some great true material to put down in writing.
Yurina Yoshikawa holds a BA in philosophy from Barnard College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, where she taught undergraduate writing. She worked in the book publishing industry in New York City for several years before moving to Nashville with her husband in 2017. Her writing has appeared in The Pinch, The New Inquiry, Hyphen, Chapter 16, and others. She was a 2019-2020 OZ Art Wire Fellow, the winner of the 2020 True Tennessee Stories Contest, and the runner-up in the 2020 Pinch Awards for Fiction. For more information, visit www.yurinayoshikawa.com.
“Yurina is an excellent teacher who put a lot of effort into designing the class for all the students, no matter what their writing level coming to her.”
“Yurina was a remarkably gifted and effective teacher. I loved how she gave us plenty of reading, even with no expectations that we would read it. And she made great use of our time in class as it was a good balance of instruction, free writing and workshop. Yurina rocks.”
“Yurina was an absolute delight. She was a blessing to my writing by making me feel re-invigorated and enthusiastic. I have a lot more confidence in tackling my piece now that I've had the benefit of Yurina's wisdom. Besides having extraordinary qualifications she is a gifted teacher and a kind generous human being. I'm honored to know her.”