IIB Workshop: Shaping a Life (with Eleanor Henderson)

May 16, 23, 30 and June 6, 13, 20, 3-5 pm

The memoirist and critic Sven Birkerts said writing a memoir is about "getting hold of vanished experience." Sometimes that means activating our memory to reach deep into the past, or our family's. Sometimes, the experience isn't vanished but all too present, a story still in progress. Either way, we're faced with choices about how to give form to formless experience. In this six-week online workshop, Shaping a Life, we'll address these choices—structure, time, scene, voice, dialogue, distance, and the ethics of writing about others. Students will respond to in-class writing prompts, give and receive feedback, and discuss Birkerts' The Art of Time in Memoir. The workshop is open to students of any level, from those who have a full draft to those just beginning one. Together we'll help each other "get hold" of our experience and invite others to witness it.

Eleanor Henderson is the author of two novels: The Twelve-Mile Straight (Ecco, 2017) and Ten Thousand Saints (Ecco, 2011), which was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by the New York Times and a finalist for the Award for First Fiction from the Los Angeles Times. Her stories and essays have appeared in publications including Agni, Ninth Letter, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Poets & Writers, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Best American Short Stories. With Anna Solomon she is also co-editor of Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers (FSG, 2014). Her memoir Everything I Have Is Yours will be published by Flatiron Books on August 10, 2021, and she is the Chair of the Writing Department and the Robert Ryan Professor in the Humanities at Ithaca College.

Buffalo Street Books is offering two full scholarships for this event. Please email lisa@buffalostreetbooks.com if you are interested in a scholarship. Priority with be given to BIPOC youth, LGBTQ+, and community members with demonstrated financial need.

Event date: 
Sunday, May 16, 2021 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Sunday, May 23, 2021 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Sunday, May 30, 2021 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Sunday, June 6, 2021 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Sunday, June 13, 2021 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Sunday, June 20, 2021 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Event address: