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Memoir in a Year Part II: Drafting and Revising Your Book-Length Memoir (This class is full!)

July 11, 2019 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm EST

Instructor: Lisa Ellison
$1399* Members | $1399* Nonmembers
Select Thursdays 1/24/19 – 12/5/19 | 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
*Payment plans of $335 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 Part II Syllabus.

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

Memoir in a Year Part II: Drafting and Revising Your Book-Length Memoir is a yearlong class for students who’ve made considerable progress on their memoir manuscripts. The first half of this course is generative and will entail an in-depth study of craft issues as you work to complete the first draft of your manuscript. Over the summer, we’ll create supportive documents designed to help you hone your book’s message and structure including book synopses, query letters, and book proposals. We’ll also analyze the draft you’ve completed to help you create a targeted revision plan. During the fall, we’ll work intensively on revising your manuscript so you leave this class with a strong, complete project.

During parts one and two of this class, the first hour 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 limited to 9 students. Participants must apply for admission.

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

Potential Add-ons
• 3 one-hour writing coaching session pack – $150
• 6 one-hour writing coaching session pack – $300
• Half-manuscript (up to 40,000 words) review with an editorial letter – $450
• Full-manuscript (up to 80,000 words) review with an editorial letter – $850

For more information regarding class dates, topics covered and class materials, please check out the 2019 Memoir in a Year Part II Syllabus

Prerequisite: Substantial progress on the first draft of a memoir must be demonstrated by all students. In addition to manuscript progress, students must have taken at least three classes in memoir or creative nonfiction at WriterHouse or another educational institution. In some cases, this prerequisite may be waived 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 brief synopsis of your book and the progress you’ve made toward completing your first draft.
  • A list of any nonfiction writing classes you’ve taken and where they were offered.
  • A ten-page writing sample from your manuscript.
  • $100 nonrefundable deposit. Deposits will be applied to the cost of tuition for students who are accepted to this program.

Submission Deadline: 12/18/18 

Students will be notified of their acceptance in this program by 12/22/18. 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 1/8/19.


The application period for this class is closed. 


About the Instructor: Lisa Ellison is a freelance writer, editor, and writing coach with a background in mindfulness and mental health. A 2015 recipient of a Virginia Quarterly Review Conference scholarship for potential literary excellence and a finalist in the 2018 Michagonne Fiction Contest, her work and life story have appeared or are forthcoming on NPR’s With Good Reason, and in The New Guard ReviewThe Kenyon Review OnlineHuffington PostThe Rumpus, and The Guardian, among others. A fan of creating playlists that feature Miles Davis alongside Cryptic Slaughter, she is currently working on two books. In the Land of Flood and Slaughter is a coming-of-age memoir about believing you’ve escaped a fate only to have it find you. Lucky Me is a memoir about how traveling with a heavy metal band into a country that committed genocide gave her the courage to live after her brother’s suicide. A writer in the Moving Forewords memoir collective, Lisa runs the Heart Speak advice column. To learn more about Lisa, check out her website


“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.”



July 11, 2019
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Gail Esterman


508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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