Writing About Family in Creative Nonfiction

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Facilitator: Jeremy Jones
Dates: February 10 – March 6, 2020
Genre: Poetry
Class Size: 10

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Session Description

This class will dig into the beautiful mess of family. Maybe you’re at work on a book about an ancestor’s trek from a far-off place or a series of essays about your mom’s strange collections or a lyrical piece ruminating on the the beginnings of your marriage. Perhaps you want to write about family drama or trauma but aren’t sure how. Or you want to investigate the quirks and history of your people but the writing comes out sounding like a textbook. Together, we will read excerpts and essays that will serve as models and offer insights about many of the issues that arise when writing about family: the ethics of putting other people on the page, of relying on fallible memories, of finding approaches for research, among others. Along the way, we will move through a number of writing exercises and prompts to stretch your writing muscles and put new approaches to work. In the end of the course, we will take part in a workshop of student work. (Note: you do not necessarily need a specific writing focus or project coming into the course: the assigned exercises should generate ample material for this final workshop.)

Author Bio

Jeremy B. Jones is the author of Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland, which was named the 2014 Appalachian Book of the Year in nonfiction and awarded gold in the Independent Publisher Book of the Year Awards in 2015. His essays appear in Oxford American, The Iowa Review, Brevity, and elsewhere, and he co-edits the book series In Place, from Vandalia Press. He serves as an associate professor of English at Western Carolina University, in his native North Carolina mountains CONTACT: jbjones@email.wcu.edu