Writers' Workshop Program: January 5-9, 2025


Safiya Sinclair

The Intersection of Home, Memory, and Imagery in Memoir

Safiya Sinclair, photo by Beowulf Sheehan
Safiya Sinclair, photo by Beowulf Sheehan
  • January 5-9, 2025
  • All Levels, $675
See all 2025 Workshops

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

Nothing roots us to our memories as acutely as place; its sounds, smells, and images. Nothing roots us to a place so steadfastly as home. Where do home and memory intersect? How can imagery, anchored in place, carpenter the writer’s own story of becoming/unbecoming? How crucial is home in the creation of a compelling memoir? What can an exploration of childhood and the ocean of memory uncover in the journey of telling one’s own story? What makes your story different than any other?

In this workshop, we will focus on writing about home, and choosing the key moments of childhood that build the foundations of the best memoirs. We will explore, through short readings, writing exercises, and daily in-person critiques how place, childhood, and memory are interwoven.

We will investigate, through different reifications of “home,” how the act of remembering can also be a kind of self-invention, and how a memoirist can find and create a home of her own on the page.

This workshop will be both generative and critique-based, and is aimed at writers with some previous experience in the genre. Students will bring in one non-fiction piece, ten pages or less, to be workshopped in person during class. Students will also be given two or three short writing exercises meant to generate longer work, all tied to explorations of home and self in their non-fiction projects.

REQUIREMENTS

  • This is an all-levels workshop for intermediate writers with previous experience in this genre.
  • Please submit a cover letter that states your interest in this workshop and gives an overview of your prior workshop experience, if any.
  • The cost is $675. If you are selected to participate in the workshop, a deposit of $300 is required to register, with the balance due by September 30.
  • If you are accepted, you have the option of attending the Keynote on Thursday, January 9, at a reduced price of $150 (we will send you a link upon confirmation). Alternately, you may purchase a ticket to attend the Seminar in full, as it runs after the workshops (January 9 – 12).
  • Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and/or to apply for a Workshop Fellowship Award. (Do not submit a regular application if you are requesting financial aid.)
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.

 

ABOUT

Safiya Sinclair is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir How to Say Babylon, which was called “scorching” in a front page review in the New York Times Book Review and a “tour de force” in a Publishers Weekly starred review. The memoir was longlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Nonfiction and is a “Read with Jenna” TODAY book club pick.

Sinclair’s first book, the poetry collection Cannibal, won the Whiting Award in poetry, the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (to honor young writers of great promise), the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in poetry. It was selected as one of the American Library Association’s Notable Books, was a finalist for a PEN Center USA literary award, and was longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award and the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize.

She received her MFA degree in poetry from the University of Virginia and her doctorate degree in literature and creative writing from the University of Southern California. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Arizona State University.