Carolyn Holbrook Memoir Writing Project Specifics

Creative Nonfiction/Memoir Writing Project

Online cohort led by Carolyn Holbrook

Wednesdays on Zoom | Starting Feb. 7, 2024 | 6-9 p.m.

Wednesdays on Zoom | Starting Feb 7, 2024 | 6-9 PM CT

Carolyn Holbrook will meet with each person who signs up to determine if your project is a good fit for the year-long project. Please sign up at the link below. Payment and final registration will take place after this initial call. Payment info and options are listed here.

Everyone leads a life that is important enough to write about.

Some of you have known for a while that you want to write about your unique life or a specific time in your life, or perhaps a continuous theme in your life. Some of you simply have an idea that you want to write but may not be sure what you want to say, or may be hitting blocks when you sit down to write, or you may have a draft that isn’t working in certain parts. Perhaps you're unsure about how to polish your manuscript and feel truly confident that it's ready to pursue publication. You want to know that your memoir is the best you can make it.

Although we will focus on memoir, writers who work in other creative nonfiction genres such as personal essay, travelogue, nature writing, or narrative journalism, are also welcome. Our inspiration will be your perspective and your questions about your experience, your world, and the larger world around you. The class will combine lecture, discussion, reading, writing exercises, peer workshop and suggestions for revision. One year is plenty of time to write a working draft of your memoir. Throughout the year we will visit and revisit what we need to know about how to begin your memoir, how to keep it moving from chapter to chapter, how to end it, and what to do with it once you’ve finished.

Through reading, writing, discussion, workshopping and revising, we will study the many aspects of the craft of memoir writing: voice, setting, tone, dialogue, scene and summary, revision, editing and getting your book out into the world. We will also meet authors, publishers and literary agents, and will develop the resources and relationships to move ahead with a writing life once the course is finished. At the end of the year, you will be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to pitch to editors and pursue publication.

This is our online cohort; we will meet via Zoom for all cohort meetings for the entire year. Please consider registering for this option if you are not local to the Twin Cities, or you'd simply prefer the convenience of never having to leave your home or favorite coffee shop while working on your novel project. Log-in information for your weekly meetings will be communicated via your confirmation email.


Important Dates
Weekly Cohort Meeting Dates

Zoom link sent in confirmation email

All times listed in US Central Time

Year-Long Writing Project Orientation

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

6–7:30 p.m.

Online, via Zoom

Final Public Reading

Wednesday, January 15, 2025

7-9 PM CT

Online, via Zoom (link sent closer to event date)

Visiting Guests

Throughout the year, four to six visiting writers and publishing professionals will meet with your cohort as special guests. Examples of past guests include:

  • Laila Lalami

  • Rumaan Alam

  • Mira Jacob

  • Courtney Maum

  • Kent Nerburn

  • Kaethe Schwehn

  • Sean Sherman

  • Mai Neng Moua

  • Ann Regan

  • Bronson Lemer

  • Erik Anderson

  • Rachel Hanel

  • Faye Bender

  • Michael Perry

  • Ariel Gore

  • Richard Blanco

  • In addition to many other visiting writers and publishing professionals from local and national publishing houses, publications, and literary agencies.

Sample Reading List

Participants will be assigned four novels to read and learn from throughout the year. Examples of past cohort novel assignments include:

  • The Truth About Stories, Thomas King
  • Tell it Slant, 3rd Edition, Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paolo
  • In the Company of Grace, Jody Lulich
  • Ground Glass, Kathryn Savage
  • The Way She Wants to Get there, Mary Moore Easter
CNF/Memoir Writing Project Instructor

The 2024/2025 online cohort will be led by Carolyn Holbrook.