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June 17–July 22, 2021. How to Start Your Memoir with Robert Anthony Siegel is a Course

June 17–July 22, 2021. How to Start Your Memoir with Robert Anthony Siegel

Time limit: 60 days

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Full course description



How to Start Your Memoir with Robert Anthony Siegel (Six-Week Workshop) 


Thursdays on Zoom: June 17–July 22, 2021

6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (7:00–9:00 Eastern; 4:00–6:00 Pacific; 5:00–7:00 Mountain)

Fee: $625

Course Description

You have a memoir to write—a true story seized from the beautiful chaos of everyday life. The question you face now is how to uncover its shape and give it full-throated voice, the ability to sing. Do you just start at the beginning and write through to the end? What is the beginning, anyway? And once you’ve finally got moving, how do you keep going?

How it works: This course is for beginning memoirists. It introduces students to the basics of memoir writing, including scene, structure, and narrative arc. We meet once a week for six weeks, Tuesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Central Time. Classes combine lecture, discussion, and short exercises that we will write on the spot and share with the group, reading aloud. There will also be some very short take-home assignments, to keep you thinking between classes. And I will meet with each student for a half-hour Zoom meeting outside of class to discuss your project in greater depth.

Course objective: students will learn how to conceptualize a book-length memoir.

Course take-aways:

         How to discover and explore your material

         How to do research

         How to think about structure and create an outline

         How to write scenes

         How to create a writing schedule and set goals

         In-class generative writing

         Quick homework assignments between classes


Robert Anthony Siegel is the author of a memoir, Criminals, and two novels, All the Money in the World and All Will Be Revealed. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, The Paris Review, and other magazines. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan and a Mombukagakusho Fellow in Japan. Other awards include O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes. Robert is an associate professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he teaches fiction and nonfiction. Visit his webpage at 

Registration & Fees 

The fee for this course is $625. Payment in full is required to register.

Registration for this course opens at 1:00 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Class size is limited to 10.

Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI Writing—Magid Center.”

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your enrollment in a Festival class, please let us know as soon as possible. We can only offer full refunds if you cancel two weeks prior to the start of class. After that, before the start date of class, we can offer a 50% refund. We cannot refund day-of cancellations, and we cannot refund or partially refund tuition once the class has begun.

Terms & Community Policy

The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is a community built on an assumption of shared enterprise, in the spirit of mutual respect. We reserve the right to a) revoke the registration of or b) dismiss from the program any person who disrupts the learning/working environment of others. Participants in the Festival are subject to all University of Iowa policies governing conduct in our community, whether online or in person.



Contact the Iowa Summer Writing Festival: Phone: (319) 335-4160.

Our tiny staff is working remotely. If you phone and we miss you, please leave a message!