Memoir | Master Class

2-Day Memoir Master Class with Beverly Donofrio

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This two-day master class in memoir is for writers interested in deepening their writing practice and refining their understanding of the craft. Admission is competitive and limited to eight writers. 

The weekend’s emphasis will be on generating new writing, as well as ideas for future memoir pieces; we’ll also discuss strategies for expanding existing work.

We will write in class from long-tested prompts that will spark your creative energy. The work will be read aloud, discussed, and used as vehicles for developing literary techniques to take home with you as you plunge more deeply into your writing. We will examine: where to begin your story; the composition of scenes; transitions both within and between scenes, from present moment to reflection, backstory, and flash forward; the use of white space; techniques for breaking through emotional barriers to diving deeper; how to summarize effectively (gallop through time in a compelling way); recreate dialogue from the distant past; how to write detailed prose that is so alive it reels the reader in and keeps them turning the page.

For consideration, writers must submit up to two pages of creative nonfiction by March 27th.


- Learn how to accurately recreate past dialogue

- Access to generative writing prompts

- Understanding of where to begin your life's story and how to put it to the page

- Deepen your writing practice and understand the craft of memoir writing

Beverly Donofrio

Beverly Donofrio has published three critically acclaimed memoirs. The New York Times bestselling Riding in Cars with Boys was made into a popular movie, and her second, Looking for Mary, was a Barnes and Noble “Discover” pick. She has published three children’s books and her essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times; The Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; and O, The Oprah Magazine; among others. She gives workshops around the country and is currently on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program at Wilkes University. She is working on a fourth memoir.


“Anyone who can read Bev Donofrio’s first paragraph and stop should be interdict for life from libraries and bookstores. She is one first-class human being and, to my mind, a down-and-dirty saint. I’m grateful for the privilege of being invited into her radiant soul.”

William J. O’Malley, S.J. author of THE FIFTH WEEK

“RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS is so much about maintaining independence against all odds, and it’s about drifting and making a million mistakes, feeling lost about half the time and it’s about how truly painful and hard growing up can be—and how ultimately there are a lot of ways to do life right.”

Anne Lamott author

“Candid, entertaining, and abundantly enlightening, LOOKING FOR MARY sizzles with the fervor of the seeker and the sought-after, and delivers between its covers a sweet and salty miracle.”


“Reading Donofrio’s memoir, ASTONISHED, is in itself, an astonishing experience. She grapples with her faith in ways and in words that startle, move, mesmerize, wrench, enliven, and thrill the reader. It is a narrative composed of brutal honesty, tenderness, and an aching love for God. I could not put it down.”

Sue Monk Kidd author of THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES