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Memoir in a Year Part I: Writing the First Draft of Your Book-Length Memoir

January 18, 2018 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm EST

Instructor: Lisa Ellison
$1349* Members | $1349* Nonmembers
Select Thursdays, 1/18/18 – 12/13/18** | 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
*Payment plans of $323 per quarter will be available to students accepted into this program.
**For a complete list of class dates, please see the Memoir in a Year Syllabus

Have a powerful life story you absolutely must tell? Looking for support as you harness the power of that narrative?

During Memoir in a Year Part I: Writing the First Draft of your Book-Length Memoir you’ll study memoir craft and technique, workshop key scenes, and most importantly, focus on writing your book. This generative class offers an opportunity to join a writing cohort, learn specific aspects of craft, give and receive feedback, measure your progress, and meet deadlines during the long slog from idea to manuscript.

The first hour of every class will be devoted to creating new material for your book. Centering meditations and prompts will be provided; however, what you write will be up to you. The second and third hours will focus on craft discussions, experiential activities, workshops, and analysis of texts.

This will be an MFA-level class. Class size is limited to 9, and participants must apply for admission.

Included in Class
• 23 class sessions at 3 hours
• 1 one-hour one-on-one sessions

Potential Add-ons
• 3 one-hour writing coaching session pack – $135
• 6 one-hour writing coaching session pack – $240
• Half-manuscript (up to 40,000 words) review with editorial letter – $325

For more information regarding class dates, topics covered and class materials, please check out the 2018 Memoir in a Year Part I Syllabus.

Prerequisite: Students must have taken at least two classes in memoir or creative nonfiction at WriterHouse or another educational institution. In some cases, this prerequisite may be waved based on the quality of the student submission or related experiences. Please send any questions to programs@writerhouse.org.

Submission Requirements

  • A brief personal statement (no more than 350 words) that includes a proposal for your project, your background, and expectations for this class.
  • A list of any nonfiction writing classes you’ve taken and where they were offered.
  • A ten-page writing sample. While it would be helpful if this sample was related to your book, other work is acceptable. Choose something that exemplifies your style and skills as a writer.
  • $100 nonrefundable deposit. Deposits will be applied to the cost of tuition for students who are accepted to this program.

Submission Deadline: 12/18/17.

Students will be notified of their acceptance in this program by 12/22/17. Upon acceptance, the remaining balance of the tuition will be due. Payment plans will be available for students who are accepted in this program. The first payment will be due on 1/8/18.

About the Instructor: Lisa Ellison, Ed.S. is a freelance writer, editor, and writing coach with a background in mindfulness and mental health. She has an Ed.S in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from James Madison University and is an experienced teacher and facilitator. Recipient of a 2015 VQR Conference scholarship for potential literary excellence, Lisa’s essays have been published in Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Rumpus, Streetlight, Gravel Literary Journal, and The Rusty Nail. Her short story “A Bit of Heaven” was the runner up in the 2015 C-Ville Weekly Fiction Contest. To learn more, please visit her website: www.lisacooperellison.com


“She went over and beyond. I learned things that I didn’t expect to. She covered an astounding amount of areas clearly and concisely. Calm and mindful. A very refreshing teaching style. One of the best classes I’ve taken here.”

“She explained concepts very well. I liked the discussion of the external conflict and the internal conflict, what things would need to be done to take it to the next level, etc. Very helpful to hear mine and everyone else’s too. Really loved this class—thank you so much.”

“Wonderful! Inspiring! Quiet strength and beautiful soul!”

“Lisa is a wonderful teacher, very professional and empathic. Very tuned in to what’s happening in the class.”

“She was very professional, genuinely empathic, very knowledgeable with great resources and patience.”

The application period for this class has closed.


January 18, 2018
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Gail Esterman


508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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