The Loft's Creative Nonfiction and Memoir Writing Project 2021 - In-Person Cohort

Open Seats


Regular $7,000.00
Member $6,940.00
February 2, 2021-December 14, 2021
6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Creative Nonfiction
Open Book-Loft Classroom
Number of Sessions
Day of the Week
Tuesday Saturday
Year Long Writing Projects Graphic

Some memoirs span the length of a single day. Others cast a line into a year or two-long experience. Still others, such as Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, begin with the storyteller’s earliest memories in toddlerhood and then pick and choose moments all the way until the storyteller’s 60th year. Creative Nonfiction can take the form of an essay collection, a deeply researched story, a blend of poetry and prose, or a cookbook in stories, for instance. No matter how much time or what shape your manuscript covers, with the support and encouragement from this year long program, you can get your book finished in one year. 

That’s the first lesson of this year-long program. The hundred other lessons that follow will take into account everything from how to begin to how to end, what to include and what to cut, if and how to include documents, modes of delivery, characterization, dialogue, setting, language, voice, purpose, idea, metaphor, conflict, arc, and tone, and when honesty is good and when honesty is going to get you in trouble, and what is honesty in memoir anyway? Is it emotional truth? Is a recreated memory from age five honest? Should you tell the reader when you’re recreating memories? Or is the only honesty the strict, verifiable factual kind? The Memoir/CNF Writing Project will help you navigate these concerns and hopefully help you stave off writerly existential crises as you write your way toward your completed manuscript. Along the way, we’ll also help you design a plan of action for its life after the book is done.

Please see the Memoir/CNF Writing Project page for program specifics and schedule.  

While we had intended to meet in-person, COVID-19 made other plans. This cohort will meet via Zoom from at least the first meeting through the end of May, 2021, with the goal of meeting at the Loft at Open Book, in Downtown Minneapolis, starting this summer if it is safe to do so. Please register for this option if you are local to the Twin Cities and will be able to drive to downtown Minneapolis to attend our hoped for in-person meetings once it is safe to gather in person again. Of course, this option may end up being virtual for all of 2021, so please be aware of this as you decide to register.

One-on-one meetings with Nicole Helget will also be held over the course of the year, live online via Zoom, or in person if it is safe to do so. These include one introductory meeting before the program kicks off in February, and one manuscript consultation session with Nicole after the program concludes (and you submit your final manuscript) in December.

Your program orientation meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at 6pm via Zoom.

Your final public reading will be Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at 7pm in the performance hall at The Loft/Open Book.