'It was a dark and stormy night' "THE MEMOIR"
THE MEMOIR - Writers' Workshop
January 10-13, 2000

The Memoir Writers' Workshops will afford writer participants an opportunity to examine, in depth, the writing of memoir with writing teachers specially chosen for their interest in memoir and their experience in teaching the form. This Memoir Seminar will be preceded by several writers' workshops; each will be limited to twelve participants to ensure individual attention and will feature four days of intensive morning workshops, afternoon private consultations, and evening events. Workshops are designed to support writers of all levels of ability, published and non-published. Each workshop has its own entrance requirements. Workshops may be taken independent of the seminar, though participation in both the seminar and the workshop is strongly encouraged.

Applicants choose one of the workshops for the entire four day session. Sorry, it is not possible to do more than one workshop. Other workshop selections may be added; please bookmark and check our website from time to time.

Workshops will begin Monday morning, January 10, 2000, 10:00 A.M. There will be an optional orientation dinner, Sunday, January 9, 7:00 P.M. Limited moderately priced group housing is available.

To register, please go to the Workshop Registration Page.
Workshop registrations will be accepted after May 10, 1999.

The cost of the four day workshop is $400 ($430 with tax); the cost of the Seminar and Workshop is $725.63. (The seminar is now sold out; if you are registered for the seminar, you qualify for the combined rate. We are taking a waiting list for the seminar.)

Please direct any questions to:
     Miles Frieden, Executive Director
     1-888-293-9291 (toll free)
     Email workshops@keywestliteraryseminar.org

Early registration is strongly encouraged, as we anticipate workshops will sellout early.

Workshops' Schedule
Workshop/Event

Day/Days

Dates

Time

Orientation Dinner Sunday Jan. 9th 7:00 PM
Memoir as Discovery
  with Paulette Bates Alden
Mon., Tues.,
Wed., Thur.
Jan. 10, 11,
12, 13
10:00 AM
Writing to Save Your Life
  with Lou Willett Stanek
Mon., Tues.,
Wed., Thur.
Jan. 10, 11,
12, 13
10:00 AM
Shaping Personal Narrative
  with Madeleine Blais
Mon., Tues.,
Wed., Thur.
Jan. 10, 11,
12, 13
10:00 AM
Eye and I
  with Beverly Lowry
Mon., Tues.,
Wed., Thur.
Jan. 10, 11,
12, 13
10:00 AM
It Is All In the Writing
  with Jane O'Reilly
Mon., Tues.,
Wed., Thur.
Jan. 10, 11,
12, 13
10:00 AM
The Relationship Between the Author and the Agent;
the Text and the Editor

  with Timothy Seldes
Mon., Tues.,
Wed., Thur.
Jan. 10, 11,
12, 13
10:00 AM

Workshops
"MEMOIR AS DISCOVERY"  New Workshop
with Paulette Bates Alden
Email: (info@paulettealden.com)
Web Site: www.paulettealden.com

Register for this workshop

Paulette Bates Alden
Paulette Bates Alden
The desire to tell one's own story seems to be part of human nature--or at least part of our contemporary human nature. Memoirs such as "Angela's Ashes" and "The Liar's Club" become best-sellers, and a plethora of first person narratives fills the bookstores. Anyone who undertakes the writing of a memoir immediately understands that there is more to it than reminiscing. Memory itself, in fact, is problematic--sometimes mixing things up, blanking out at times, tugging us this way and that. What we have, we realize, is experience, material--and what we want is STORY: our own true story, the way we think and feel about what has happened, what we make of it, the shape we give it. Memoir writing, it turns out, is not a simple matter of recording what we remember, but rather a complex, dynamic act of discovering what we truly know. We'll talk about memoir as a literary form, musing about such questions as how to engage the reader, how to present ourselves as empathetic protagonists, how to get at the emotional and psychological truth of an experience, when to reflect and how to use scenes. We'll use exercises that help us get started, link emotions and events, explore the use of imagination as well as memory, and learn techniques to help participants write memoirs of power, beauty and truth.

Requirements:
Workshop open to writers of all levels of ability. Submission of no more than 10 pages strongly encouraged.

BIOGRAPHY

Paulette Bates Alden is the author of "Feeding the Eagles," a collection of autobiographical short stories, and "Crossing the Moon," a memoir that recounts her own initial ambivalence about motherhood, embarking on a course of infertility treatment, and coming to terms with not having a child. The book also touches a wide array of other issues: aging parents; being raised Southern and female in the fifties; trade-offs between a life of work and one devoted to nurture; coping with grief and loss. She is currently working on a "memoir in stories" about, among other things, taking care of her mother who has dementia. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times Magazine," "Ploughshares," "Mississippi Review," "The Antioch Review," and elsewhere.

Paulette was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she received her Masters in Creative Writing and taught for three years as a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing. The recipient of numerous awards, including a Loft-Mcknight Award, a Bush Foundation Fellowship, and a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, she has taught extensively, including graduate level courses in memoir reading and writing at the University of Minnesota, where she received a distinguished teaching award, at Carleton College and at St. Olaf College. She had taught many summer workshops in memoir and the short story at the Split Rock Arts Program in Duluth, Minnesota, including a "Writing and Loss" workshop this past summer. This spring she conduced a "Memoir and Healing" workshop at the National Poetry Therapy Conference in Charleston. She lives in Minneapolis and teaches fiction and memoir writing privately.

What students say about Paulette Bates Alden:

"Paulette is an excellent instructor - well-organized, welcoming, extremely competent, humorous, gentle, manages her classroom exquisitely. She generously opened her personal library to us. She's very encouraging - both by praising our efforts and taking us seriously enough to challenge us to perform more complete work. Not only was it important to her that we receive the assistance we needed for this class, but that we see ourselves as writers in that we put our immediate work into a larger context."

"Best writing workshop/course I ever attended and believe me, I've seen a few!"

"Excellent knowledge of subject area; excellent control of group; great empathy for difficult disclosures; honest feedback - astute; excellent helpful hand-outs; I feel like I'm getting help from a master writer."

"Paulette is a wonderful teacher - patient, informative, clear, articulate and helpful. She does a nice job of balancing didactic information, stimulating discussion and giving constructive feedback. She creates an atmosphere where others feel their thoughts and opinions are heard and respected."

"Paulette has been a wonderful resource and offered valuable insight and criticism which has served to deepen and significantly improve my writing. She has a gift for helping a writer identify what it is they truly want to say in a work, and helping them recognize when they are (or are not) giving voice to that message."


"WRITING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE"
with Lou Willett Stanek

Register for this workshop

Lou Willett Stanek
with Lou Willett Stanek
I remember...are the magic words to jump start the creative urge you have to put your past on paper.
    I remember the first time I saw the man/woman I would marry.
    I remember thinking I could never be happy again.
    I remember tacky souvenirs on a shelf.
    I remember not being invited.


You might not have the imagination to create a Madam Bovary, few of us do, but you have an interesting life jumbled with pain, pleasure, accomplishment, and regret. This workshop is designed to break the ice, to help you find the courage, the support and the technique to tackle telling your tale. Your family and friends will be grateful.

We will ‘talk' about how to become the main character without becoming an egotistical bore, but you learn to write by writing. Participants will write about what happened in order to learn what it means. The instructor will concentrate on suggestions for focusing your subject, framing the time and place, including the major players, finding your voice, setting the proper tone and granting yourself permission to write.

Writing is not a competitive sport. As a group our mission will be to help each other, by encouragement and constructive criticism, to become the best memoir writers possible.

Requirements:
This workshop is open to writers of all levels of ability. There is no entrance requirement, and applicants do not need to submit a writing sample. Workshop is limited to 12, first-come, first-served.

BIOGRAPHY

Born right outside Chicago in a place called Illinois, Lou Willett Stanek began her writer's career at age 13 writing Lou's Teen Talk, a weekly column for The Vandalia Leader. She claims she could have been sued for plagiarizing her own life in her first novel, Megan's Beat, about a teenager who writes a gossip column for the local newspaper.

Stanek now teaches in the Writing Program at The New School, offers Memoir and Fiction Workshops in New York and Bailey Island, Maine. She has taught literature and creative writing at The University of Chicago, where she earned her Ph.D., at Marymount Manhattan College in New York, Mt. Vernon College in Washington DC, and on The Holland American Cruise Line. Along the way she has had an eclectic assortment of other jobs as horse trainer, United Air Lines Stewardess, Saks 5th Ave. model, corporate executive for Philip Morris and contributor to a number of magazines and newspapers.

She now lives in Manhattan and Bailey Island, Maine.

PUBLICATIONS

Story Starters (Avon Books 1998)
Writing Your Life (Avon Books 1996)
So You Want to Write A Novel (Avon Books 1994)
Thinking Like A Writer (Random House 1994)
Whole Language (H. W. Wilson 1992)
Katy Did (Avon Books 1992)
Gleanings (Harper & Row 1985)
Megan Beat (Dial 1983)


"SHAPING PERSONAL NARRATIVE"
with Madeleine Blais

THIS WORKSHOP IS COMPLETELY BOOKED

Madeleine Blais
Madeleine Blais
Participants will be given a guided tour of the current scene in memoir with an emphasis on creating our own standards for what constitutes memorable and artistic story-telling based in personal experience as opposed to the merely confessional. We will do numerous writing and memory building exercises. Participants are urged to familiarize themselves with as much of the work of the panelists as possible so that we can have a common ground for discussion.

In this workshop the group will grapple with such issues as:
(Day One) Subject Radar: How do you know you have a story to tell.
(Day Two) The tools of the trade: Literary technique and nonfiction narrative.
(Day Three) Factual truth vs. Psychic truth: Respecting the story that memory has to tell.
(Day Four) The Marketplace: Finding an agent or a publisher.

Requirements:
Workshop open to writers of all levels of ability. Submission of no more than ten pages required.

BIOGRAPHY

Madeleine Blais is a professor in the journalism department at the University of Massachusetts where she specializes in a course entitled "Diaries, Memoirs and Journals." She has written for many newspapers including The Boston Globe, the Washington Post and The New York Times and while she was a staff writer at the Miami Herald, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. She is the author of a collection of essays, "THE HEART IS AN INSTRUMENT: PORTRAITS IN JOURNALISM" and 'IN THESE GIRLS, HOPE IS A MUSCLE", which was a finalist in the category of nonfiction for the National Book Critics Circle award.

Ms. Blais will serve as a moderator for this year's seminar.


"EYE AND I"
with Beverly Lowry

Register for this workshop

The memoir glitch: how to delve deep down into the self as the form requires and yet still keep eyes and ears above the water line and intellect in touch with time and narrative perspective.

Beverly Lowry
with Beverly Lowry
This workshop will center on the work of the workshop participants, which we will read, study, and discuss. Each person should pick a subject he/she knows nothing about, say butter, Malaria, East Timor, Ulysses S. Grant, Azalia Hackley. Discovery is the idea, something the writer is interested in but has never pursued.

Requirements:
Workshop participants are expected to write two short pieces prior to the seminar for circulation to other members of the workshop--up to 1,000 words--one from a personal perspective, involving the self and its desires, and what the writer might have found out about him/her self through learning about the subject, especially anything that turns out to be a surprise. The other piece, approximately the same length, should be in third person, more of a formal essay, keeping in mind that a more "objective" piece of writing can still be emotional, even passionate. Keeping in mind that memoir does not equal confession.

Suggested but not required reading: The Emperor's Last Island, by Julia Blackburn. "Notes of a Native Son" by James Baldwin. Note especially the amount of factual and personal information in each. Workshop open to writers of all levels of ability.

BIOGRAPHY

Beverly Lowry was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where her father worked as a bouncer and a banjo player on the roof of the Peabody Hotel. Her birth was paid for in nickels from a pinball machine, and she was named for a debutante whose picture her mother saw in the Sunday Memphis Commercial Appeal.

She grew up in the Mississippi Delta, in Greenville, where the legacy of William Alexander Percy and the presence of Hodding Carter, Jr., required that all white children receive a solid literary education and be encouraged to become writers. After attending Ole Miss for two years, she attended Memphis State University, graduated, married and then moved to New York City where she had one son and pursued an acting career. When acting foundered, she went back to the profession pressed on her by high school teachers, writing.

She is the author of six novels, including Daddy's Girl, Breaking Gentle and The Track of Real Desires. In recent years she has published mostly non-fiction: personal essays, feature journalism, book reviews, travel articles, interviews, and one book, Crossed Over, a Murder, a Memoir, about her friendship with the recently executed Karla Faye Tucker. Her magazine work has appeared in such magazines as The RollingStone, Redbook, Granta and The New Yorker. She is currently at work on another non-fiction book, about race, hair, daughters, the South and Madam C.J. Walker.

She lived in Houston for a number of years, where she wrote, had her second son, taught at the University of Houston and Rice University and served as the president of the Texas Institute of Letters. She has also lived in San Marcos and Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, Missoula, Montana, and Washington, D.C., where she now lives. She has taught at the University of Montana, George Washington University and the University of Alabama. For her work, she has received NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, three Texas Institute of Letters awards, and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award. She is the director of the new non-fiction program at George Mason University, where she also teaches.


"IT IS ALL IN THE WRITING"
with Jane O'Reilly

THIS WORKSHOP IS COMPLETELY BOOKED

Jane O'Reilly
with Jane O'Reilly
Any story is interesting if it is well written. No story is interesting if it is not well written. My workshop is designed to evoke the details, dialogue, insight, hindsight, and flights of literary inspiration that, when arranged successfully on a page, make a story a work of art. The technical problem of creating a successful arrangement is simultaneously addressed. The workshop is specifically devoted to the practice of memoir, and its inherent problem of telling the truth.

Rapid responsive warm ups shape and enlarge progression of narrative, resonance of voice, inventiveness of language, and the journey from beginning to end. Continuous presentation of exercises to the entire group for discussion is a crucial part of the process. The Joy of Rewriting will be stressed. Participants should leave the workshop with a finished short work and a clearer idea of how to go about creating a longer work.

Requirements:
Participants should be at least age thirty-five. Please submit two written pages. It is not necessary to have been published.

BIOGRAPHY

Jane O'Reilly now lives in Vermont, where she leads an idyllic life gardening, walking the dogs, teaching a course in memoir writing, publishing the town newspaper, being a Justice of the Peace, etc.

She was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, graduated from Radcliffe College, and spent thirty years in New York City. She has a son, a daughter, two granddaughters, two dogs, and plans to be a mezzo soprano in her next life. At various times and stages, she has been a contributing editor of New York Magazine, one of the founders of Ms. Magazine, a contributor to TIME, a columnist for Vogue, a syndicated newspaper columnist, a travel writer, and a regular reviewer for the Sunday New York Times book review section. She has published two books: "The Girl I left behind: The Housewife's Moment of Truth and Other Feminist Ravings" and "No Turning Back: Two Nun's Battle with the Vatican Over Women's Right to Choose", written with Barbara Ferraro and Patricia Hussey. She is at work on "Clothing the Ghost" a book on writing, for Algonquin Press. She is also an Honorary Board Member of the Key West Literary Seminar and has been a panelist on Journalism and Travel Writing.

She is surprised to discover how much fun it is to teach writing. Her students think so too. Here are some recommendations.

"I find her to compare with Noel Perrin and Richard Eberhart, favorably, as a teacher. All of us wrote better than we thought we could, made great leaps after editing, and Jane was full of joy, support, expertise. We laughed a lot."
     Michael Merritt, Arlington, Vt.

"I really needed a boost, and your kindness and energy gave that to me. Of course members of the group were inspirational, too. I wanted you to know how much the weekend meant to me. Thanks again."
     Ann Wuerslin, Sandgate, Vermont

"The workshop was full of inspiration and encouragement."
     Susan Osgood, Brattleboro, Vt.

"Please sign me up for the next one. You really changed my life. For the better, of course."
     Stella Greene, Peru, Vermont.


"The Relationship Between the Author and the Agent;
the Text and the Editor"

with Timothy Seldes

Register for this workshop

I was for many years on the other side of the desk as an editor to whom writers and agents sent manuscripts and thought, of course, that my editorial relationship was the most important thing in their writing lives. When I became an agent, I found this was not true and also found that contrary to my beliefs, negotiating contracts was not the agent's principal activity. The problems and opportunities agents deal with today are more difficult than they were ten years ago. We will discuss the issues of publishing today and will also, of course, spend a great deal of time discussing your work and how you get an agent and what you can do if that is not possible. Individual consultations will focus on suggestions for editing the manuscript.

PLEASE NOTE: This will be a two hour morning workshop, followed by individual consultations.

Requirements:
Size will be limited to 8 participants. 10 page manuscript submissions from a completed memoir or from a memoir in progress required prior to acceptance.

BIOGRAPHY

Timothy Seldes has spent most of his professional life in book publishing; beginning with 17 years at Doubleday where he was the Managing Editor of the Trade Department. He also worked at Harcourt Brace, the New American Library and Macmillan.

Outside of book publishing, he was Assistant Publisher of The New York Post and the Public Information Officer of The Welfare Island Development Corp. He was Chairman of the Board of Poets & Writers for many years.

Since 1972, he has been the President of Russell & Volkening, Inc., a literary agent which represents such authors as Annie Dillard, Marian Wright Edelman, Nadine Gordimer, Jim Lehrer, George Plimpton, Howell Raines, Dan Schorr, Ntozake Shange, Anne Tyler and Eudora Welty.

He is married to the author Susan R. Shreve (who was with the Seminar last year for The American Novel, as a moderator and workshop leader) and divides his time between Washington, D.C. and New York City.




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