Former Times editor offers memoir writing course

Memoir-writing is a special form of art, and this fall Greenwich Library will help would-be memoirists get started.

A Crafting Life Stories course will be led by former New York Times editor Joan Motyka on seven consecutive Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 19 in the Meeting Room.

The program is designed to help people discover and tell the stories only they can tell — and to do so in a supportive environment that encourages even amateur writers.

With a background in journalism and fiction, Ms. Motyka will offer journalistic tools and literary techniques to help participants explore the significance of people, places and events in their lives. Using readings, prompts and writing assignments, she will help students draw stories from memory, organize them into a narrative and polish them through revision.

The series will consist of seven distinct two-hour sessions. In each class, students will read and discuss passages from books of memoir and occasionally from poetry or fiction that illustrate that week’s topic.

Topics include how to look at yourself as a narrator of stories, how to capture the richness of place, how to plumb your intersection with history and how to understand the role of other people in your stories. There will also be a discussion of dialogue as well as tips on research, interviewing and revision.

Ms. Motyka is a former long-time New York Times editor and writing coach, and is currently an editor at The Westchester Review, a literary journal now in its fifth year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe and other publications. She has been leading memoir writing workshops in Westchester and New York City since 2007.

Excerpts or completed projects from the course will be available on the Greenwich Library website with permission from class participants. Register for this free program at greenwichlibrary.org.

For more information, contact Michele Martin at 203-625-6533 or visit Greenwichlibrary.org.

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