Greenwich Library offers memoir-writing workshops

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

Previous sessions of Crafting Life Stories, led by former New York Times editor Joan Motyka, have proven so popular with patrons that the library is offering both an afternoon and an evening session this October.

The afternoon group will meet at 3 p.m. for six consecutive Wednesdays beginning Oct. 15 and the evening group will meet for five Thursdays at 7 p.m. from Oct. 9 to Nov. 13 in the Library Meeting Room. There is no class on Oct. 16.

Required registration began on Sept. 22.

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

The class will consist of a series of distinct two-hour sessions in which 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.

Call Michele Martin at 203-625-6533 to register with your Greenwich or Perrot Library card number, or by using the library’s online calendar/registration system at

Ms. Motyka is a former longtime New York Times editor and writing coach, and 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.

Crafting Life Stories is made possible through the support of the Greenwich Library Board of Trustees and contributions by donors.

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