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The Art of Memoir: Discovering and Deepening Your Story with Donna M. Johnson and Christine Wicker

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Sul Ross University
Alpine, TX

7/21/2013 to 7/26/2013 From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM


Sorry, this class is sold out. To be put on a waiting list, please email us at


Memoirit’s the story we know best. So why in the writing of it do we often lose the immediacy of the felt experience and write drafts that read like What I Did On My Summer Vacation?

The memoirist’s challenge is to uncover the truth of his or her life and shape that truth into story. This class focuses on the quest to discover and deepen personal narrative through the exploration of voice/tone, persona, structure, process, tapping the unconscious and other elements of creative nonfiction.

Taught by two award-winning memoirists and journalists, the course utilizes the classroom and small workshop experience to create a nurturing environment that encourages intimacy and risk taking.

Class Takeaways:

• Knowledge of the elements of creative nonfiction and memoir

• Tools for mining memory and the unconscious

• The ability to burrow beneath facts without going beyond them

• Methods for incorporating showing and telling into the narrative

• Knowledge of traditional and associative story structure

• How to create rich, textured creative nonfiction

Who Should Attend:

• Writers with memoirs in progress and those who are just beginning

• Writers with completed manuscripts looking for ways to deepen the story

• Fiction writers beginning a nonfiction project

• Those interested in publishing their work

• Those working on memoir as a family project

Please bring any manuscripts, chapters, outlines or fragments of memoir you may be working on. We will work with you as a group and also as individuals and will review and provide feedback on writing projects. Peer editing and feedback will also be a part of this class/workshop experience. Everyone will have an opportunity to present work as well as the right to opt out of presentation.

Donna M. Johnson is the author of the critically acclaimed Holy Ghost Girl which made the "Memoirs We Love" list twice and won the Mayborn Creative Nonfiction Prize. Holy Ghost Girl also took top honors at the New York Books for a Better Life Awards. Donna’s work has been collected in several anthologies. She has written about religion, family and culture for Shambhala Sun, Huffington Post, The, the Psychology Today blog, the Dallas Morning News, and other publications. She lives in Austin with her husband, the poet and author Kirk Wilson.

Christine Wicker is a journalist and the author of six books including the New York Times bestseller, Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead. During 17 years with The Dallas Morning News, she was a columnist, Sunday magazine writer and religion reporter. Her books have included true crime, a spiritual memoir and in expose of Religious Right political and social power. Her most recent book is her first ghost writing assignment and will be published in the summer of 2014.

For more details on the Writers' League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat and information about lodging, click

Refund Policy:

We're sorry, but no refunds can be made. Please make sure you can commit to the dates before purchasing. Tickets are transferrable, so if something unforeseen arises you can make arrangements to have someone go in your stead. Simply alert the office via phone (512.499.8914) or email ( to pass along the name of your replacement.


Problems Registering?

If you are having issues registering online for any reason, you can sign up for the retreat via mail. Please send us your contact information, a check for the registration fee, and indicate which class you are interested in taking.

Mail check to:
The Writers' League of Texas
611 S. Congress, Ste. 505
Austin, TX 78704