Getting Started on Writing Your Memoir | Garnett Kilberg Cohen - Rancho La Puerta
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Getting Started on Writing Your Memoir | Garnett Kilberg Cohen

Week of January 5, 2019

Have you ever wanted to write a memoir—either for publication or simply to create a record of memories to pass on to your children and grandchildren? Or do you just want to explore your ability as a creative writer? This workshop will give you strategies for getting started on your writing and tips for writing your memories in a compelling style. You will learn the difference between showing others your past creatively as opposed to simply telling them about it. In this workshop, we will briefly analyze short excerpts from published memoirs and discuss why the pieces are successful. The remainder of the workshop will be spent 1) writing in response to prompts designed to help you produce your best writing and 2) getting feedback on your writing so you can continue to develop it once you leave the Ranch. Written memoirs are a way of reflecting on your past, while providing an opportunity for letting others know your experiences both now and for generations to come.


Garnett Cohen has published three collections of short stories, most recently Swarm to Glory (2014), and a poetry chapbook. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, and has twice been awarded Notable Essay Citations from Best American Essays (2011 and 2015). She has received many other awards, including a Special Mention from the Pushcart Prize, The Lawrence Foundation Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review, the Crazyhorse National Fiction Prize, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, and was honored as a celebrated author at the Chicago Public Library Carl Sandburg dinner in the fall of 2016, where the authors were introduced by Bill Kurtis of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. She has spoken at conferences in Ireland, Australia, Iceland and the United States and given creative writing workshops for many organizations.  She has been an editor at six magazines, and currently is a co-editor at Punctuate, A Nonfiction Journal. A Full Professor at Columbia College Chicago, she currently spends her time teaching, writing, and traveling.