Personal Autobiography: Should You Try? And Why?


Sunday, October 22, 2023 from 2 to 4 p.m. (EST)/11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (PT). We write because we have stories to tell. And some of those stories are about us. Arguably, even fiction writers dig deep into their own experiences for their plots—although they change the details. But what if the details are true-to-life? How can you be comfortable writing a memoir or a personal essay if you are essentially a private person? Or if the story involves someone else? Or if it might make people angry? How can you know if your topic is “important” enough to be relevant to others? All of these questions pertain, but they all have answers that can speed you on your way to effective autobiographical prose. You may be writing to grapple with your own experience, but readers also say that this kind of writing has enormous power in helping them validate their own life challenges. For this two-hour seminar, bring a topic you long to write about but feel might be too risky, and bring all your questions, from creation to publication. Your instructor, Jacquelyn Mitchard, has written personal autobiography for many magazines and anthologies, including Glamour, Newsweek, The New York Times, O The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, and more. She will guide writers on striking that happy balance between cursory and cringeworthy.

Class Details

Cost: $89

Format: Online

Class Start: October 22, 2023 from 2 to 4 p.m. (EST)/11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (PT)

Additional Information

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About the Instructor

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books of fiction and non-fiction for adults, young adults and children, with more than 3 million copies in 34 languages worldwide. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. That book was adapted for a major motion picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Whoopi Goldberg. Mitchard has won or been nominated for prizes including the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Heartland Prize for Fiction among others. Her essays and short prose have been widely published in magazines, anthologized, and used in school and college curricula. A native of Chicago, she lives on Cape Cod with her family. Her newest novel, A Very Inconvenient Scandal, is the story of Frankie Attleboro, an acclaimed young underwater photographer whose 60-year-old widowed dad, a famous marine biologist, shatters the family by marrying Frankie’s best friend, It is due out in November, 2023.

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