What makes a narrator’s voice captivating to readers? How do we wrangle, edit, and polish something as unwieldy as life into an absorbing narrative? This is a class for memoirists: those starting out, or those years-deep into a draft. We will focus on amplifying our unique voices and crafting our lives into page-turning stories. As well as workshopping, classes will involve writing exercises to help us access elusive memories, strip and build narratives, and put real-life characters into words. We’ll also discuss the challenges and responsibilities of memoir writing and how we can tell our stories in new ways.
Each writer will have the opportunity to workshop twice and can decide for themselves whether they would like to workshop a sample from an existing work or use writing generated during class. Each writer will also have one meeting with the instructor to discuss their work. As a participant, you will leave this class equipped with techniques to make your writing compellingly “you;” honing your powers to find and craft the stories of your life.
- A workshopped, refined, sample of writing from your memoir
- Techniques that can be used over again to produce compelling, voice-driven personal writing
- An understanding of nonfiction storytelling techniques and narrative structure
- A deeper sense of the unique strengths of your personal storytelling.
- The opportunity to workshop your own writing and that of others in a supportive, compassionate space
- 1 one-on-one meeting with the instructor
*no class April 18th
Sofija Stefanovic is a Serbian-Australian writer and storyteller based in Manhattan. Her memoir, Miss Ex-Yugoslavia, is a sometimes funny sometimes dark story about being an immigrant kid during the Yugoslavian Wars. She’s a regular storyteller with The Moth, and has traveled with their Mainstage, telling personal stories across the country. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Guardian.com, and Elle.com, among others. She hosts This Alien Nation—a monthly celebration of immigration at Joe’s Pub, and the literary salon Women of Letters.
“Her quirky, poignant, relatable anecdotes offer a nuanced and unflinching portrait of lived experience…A fresh and timely perspective on the immigrant experience – required reading.”
“Funny and tragic and beautiful in all the right places. I loved it.”
“Smart, spirited…Full of lively anecdotes [that] sharply dwells on the parallels between immigration and growing up. Both involve the loss of old comforts paired with the excitement of new opportunities.”
"Sofija ... instinctually understands the story you are telling and how you help you tell it in your own voice – be that hilarious, heartbreaking, or both at once."
"Sofija instantly gets what you're trying to say with your writing, and knows how to help you express it much more clearly. She's also very friendly and funny!"
"Sofija Stefanovic’s beautiful memoir MISS EX-YUGOSLAVIA depicts the elegant transit of a girl becoming an artist. This is a story we yearn to know: How does a girl lose her childhood, family, and nation, yet nurture her memories, dreams, and art? Stefanovic hits all her marks, and she keeps us in her thrall.”