INTERVIEW WITH SHARON HARRIGAN
When did you first feel like a writer?
What is your philosophy about teaching a writing class?
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Sharon Harrigan is the author of Playing with Dynamite: A Memoir (Truman State University Press, 2017), which Kirkus Reviewscalled “a warm, engaging read about the ways in which memory distorts our understanding of family.” She has an MFA in creative writing and has published more than 50 essays, short stories, and reviews in the New York Times (Modern Love), Virginia Quarterly Review, Narrative, Real Simple, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, has taught at WriterHouse since 2012, and has a novel and poetry collection forthcoming in 2020.
Sharon’s current and former students have published their work in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Rumpus, NPR, Gravel, The Guardian, Gettysburg Review, Bay Journal, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Living Luthern Magazine, Mothers Always Write, Fluvanna Review, Charlottesville Family, The Ethos Collection, and Strong 4 LIfe, among others.
WHAT WRITERHOUSE STUDENTS ARE SAYING ABOUT SHARON
“I enrolled in this year-long class with the intention that I would finally write the memoir that I have been trying to write (in fits and starts) for over ten years. Over half-way through, I am edging towards completing a rough draft of my book. I credit my success on Sharon Harrigan’s generous and steady guidance about memoir craft and process and the support of fellow memoirists in the class who are on similar writing journeys. The class has provided a welcome and, for me, essential container for writing the story I have been both dreading and longing to tell.” Leslie Middleton, Memoir in a Year Part I student 2016
“The Memoir in a Year class is exactly what I needed to get the book out of my head and onto paper. No longer is writing a book a ‘bucket list’ item for me. I’m now moving onto trying to get my book published!” K.T. Sancken, Memoir in a Year Part I student 2015
“I’ve learned more about creative nonfiction in this class than any of the shorter classes I’ve had in the past. The year-long experience has helped me to go deeper, to find a way to create a meaningful narrative arc out of the tangled yarns of my life. Sharon has a gift for teaching with empathy, insight, clarity and knowledge.” Basira Harpster, Memoir in a Year Part I student 2016
“I am so incredibly grateful for the Memoir in a Year course. I did not consider myself a writer prior to joining this year. I simply knew I had a story to tell and I was unsure how to get started. Sharon is an excellent guide through this process. I am so grateful for the friendships, encouragement, education and WRITING that I have accomplished through this course.” Sera S., Memoir in a Year student 2016
“The Memoir in a Year class is exactly what I needed to get the book out of my head and onto paper. No longer is writing a book a ‘bucket list’ item for me. I’m now moving onto trying to get my book published!” K.T. Sancken, Memoir in a Year Part II student 2016
“The first year of the memoir class, I produced a full draft. The second year, I discovered the thread. For this growth and progress, I credit my classmates’ and Sharon’s feedback, the reading and discussion of model memoirs, craft books, and essays, plus in-class and assigned writing prompts. Many exercises led to fruitful revision or provided the basis for my weekly blog posts. If you want to write a book-length memoir, whether you plan to publish or share it only with your family, Sharon’s class is the one for you.” Carole Duff, Memoir in a Year Part II student 2016
“While I’m still finishing my second draft, I have begun meeting with agents. During an agent meeting at a conference I described the work we’re doing in Sharon’s class. He told me I was on the right track and gave me his email address so I can send him the finished product. As I walked out of that meeting, contact information in hand, I realized how lucky I am to have worked with Sharon over the past two years, and how lucky we are to have this program at WriterHouse.” Lisa Ellison, Memoir in a Year Part II student 2016