What are the stories you alone need to tell? In this class, we will move from the mechanics of the craft (how to build compelling details, interesting structures, and characters) to the profound questions of artistic responsibility, such as which stories we own, and why, and what it means to write about the people we love. In addition to reading and critiquing each other’s work, each week will feature short exercises designed to liberate creative thinking and push into new territory. You do not need to have a story already in mind, we will work on finding your stories together. This class is intended to be a freeing and supportive space, where each of us can explore the questions we have about our lives, rather than the answers, and learn to give shape to our experiences through our words.
Each writer will workshop twice, and will meet once with the instructor over the phone for an individual conference.
“A richly detailed memoir about the contradictory life narratives that connect and divide four generations of women.”
“Nadja Spiegelman’s memoir works like a series of Russian nesting dolls: in every mother, she finds a woman who was once a daughter. Her prose is luminous and precise; her portraits intricately tender but charged by the wild electricity of familial love. I felt myself moved and expanded as I read this thoughtful, probing book—and I called my own mother the moment I was done.”
“Nadja has the ability to see through a murky draft with x-ray clarity and spot the story you were trying to tell. She'll show you the way to reveal that story. A generous reader and a teller of hard truths, Nadja is the rare teacher whose criticism students will crave as much as her compliments.”
“Nadja dove headlong into my work, immersing herself in its universe and understanding it from the inside out. She figured out what the work wanted and needed better than I could myself. Conscientious and clearheaded, rigorous and tender, Nadja never ceased to amaze!”
“With another writer, a photographer, and a filmmaker, Nadja and I conducted a workshop in Paris that lasted three years. She is a brilliant and devoted editor, a superlatively supportive friend and workshop presence, and a gorgeous writer. I am so excited for everyone who gets the chance to take her class.”
“Years ago, after being told by friends she should think about writing a book, Nadja Spiegelman considered what doing so would take—the torture of crafting sentences, the agony of building a narrative—and said, 'Why not?' Not only the confidence but also the poise of that response is what makes Nadja such a great teacher of writing. The confidence shows in her surgical skills as an editor, and the poise shows in her unflagging sympathy as a reader. She can make anyone a better writer. She can make anyone who believes they have a book in them think, 'Why not?'”