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Creative Nonfiction: Writing Family Narratives Using Research – ongoing class

September 19, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Brendan Wolfe

Instructor: Brendan Wolfe
$189 Members | $210 Nonmembers
Mondays, 9/19/22 – 11/7/22 | 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. EDT

Before signing up for this in-person class, please read the following statement about requirements to enroll:

All in-person students must be fully vaccinated and provide WriterHouse staff with proof of vaccination. For fall term, masks are optional, but in the event of significant Covid-19 upticks, students must be prepared for the mask policy to change and to transition to a virtual platform if necessary. No refunds will be issued if in-person classes/seminars need to transition to an online format.

This class is part genealogy seminar, part traditional nonfiction workshop. We’ll focus on integrating storytelling with research in ways that make it impossible to separate one from the other. In the process you will learn some basic family history–research skills and then see how what you uncover can not only deepen your storytelling but guide it as well.

Come to class with one or more projects in mind. Be thinking about what story you are trying to tell and how research might help. What questions do you have that it might answer? You might be interested in writing a memoir about you and your immediate family or investigating something further back in time. The title of this class notwithstanding, you’re also welcome to pursue a story outside of your family but that you nevertheless find yourself drawn to.

We will read and discuss published examples, present our research, and then workshop drafts of our narratives.

Brendan Wolfe is a professional genealogist and the author of three books, including Finding Bix: The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend, about a journey the New York Times kindly noted was “well worth reading about.” His personal essays and reviews have been published in Colorado Review, The Morning News, VQR, and Mud Season Review, among others. For twelve years Wolfe edited Encyclopedia Virginia, and has written numerous historical essays, including “History Writ Aright” and “The Train at Wood’s Crossing,” the latter of which was honored by Bunk magazine as the best historical narrative of 2019. It will be included in an anthology of essays about lynching, forthcoming from the University of Virginia Press. Wolfe lives in Charlottesville with his daughter, Beatrix.

This class has already begun. Students may register until the second week (before 9/26/22) by emailing programs@writerhouse.org.


September 19, 2022
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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Brendan Wolfe


508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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