ClassEducated in Memoir: Aspects of Craft from a Bestseller
What can we as memoir writers learn from examining Tara Westover's Educated? Her narrative chronicles her struggles growing up in rural Idaho with a survivalist father and an abusive brother. She graduates from working in her father's scrapyard to helping her mother develop tinctures as a midwife and healer, and ultimately she attends the best universities in the world.
This class examines the craft techniques Westover uses so we can see how to write honestly about our biggest demons, our hard-won successes. We'll examine how to include what's already captured in our journals, letters, and emails. We'll discuss ways to develop and write about the essential events of and people in our story, though our memory may be faulty. We'll explore techniques used to write powerful dialogue even without a voice recording of the conversation. We'll discover how best to frame our narrative, how to know where to begin and where to end the story of our lives. Finally, we'll determine what guidance to follow in including the family secrets—and whether you should include them at all.
In-class writing exercises are designed to help students work through the challenges particular to their stories and to reveal strengths within their narrative.