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Lisa Zeidner

Autobiographical Fiction and Fictional Autobiography: Shaping Material from Life

Lisa Zeidner, photo by Ken Yanoviak
Lisa Zeidner, photo by Ken Yanoviak
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workshop description

If your life is central to your story, but you’re unsure whether the material makes more sense to craft as a memoir or as a roman à clef, this workshop is for you.  We’ll sort out some differences between the genres, especially in terms of voice and structure. How crucial are the exact facts, when is some embellishment or downright invention preferable, and how do you best engage readers in the details of your life? Key examples will be distributed from writers who have successfully used their autobiographies in both forms.


This workshop is no longer available.

•     This workshop is open to all levels on a first-come, first-served basis and requires no advance submission. The cost is $550. A deposit of $100 is required to register.

•     Students should submit up to 20 double-spaced pages—either memoir, fiction, or even a combination of the two. Excerpts from longer works are fine. We’ll all read the submissions, along with some assigned works, in advance of the sessions.

Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and application.

about Lisa Zeidner

Lisa Zeidner is the author of five novels, most recently Love Bomb, and two books of poems. She is also a screenwriter whose novel, Layover, is in development as a film to star Penelope Cruz. Her personal essays, fictions, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, GQ Magazine, Slate, Salon, Tin House, and other publications. She teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey.