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Transforming Memory into Story: A Memoir and Personal Essay Workshop with Jaquira Díaz

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 @ 6:30 pm


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Tuesdays, May 4 – 25 (4 weeks)
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. EST  |  Online via Google Meet  |  Register to receive link

In this workshop, we’ll start by reading pieces that use memory and personal narrative to tell a story. We will examine how memories can be crafted as memoir or personal essay and speak to something larger, more expansive, and how personal stories are connected to the larger world. Each day we will discuss your crafted pieces of memoir or personal essay: workshop will be a conversation that encourages and prioritizes the centering of underrepresented voices, and that pushes writers to see the writing in front of them as a work-in-progress rather than a product. We will read others’ work and think beyond our own aesthetic to consider the writer’s vision, and think critically and creatively about how we can contribute to a larger conversation about craft.

Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami. She is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir (Algonquin Books, 2019), one of the most anticipated books of Fall 2019. O: The Oprah Magazine said, “[Ordinary Girls] belongs on your must-read lists. Díaz is a masterful writer.” Ordinary Girls was a Summer/Fall 2019 Indies Introduce Selection, a Fall 2019 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, a November 2019 Indie Next Pick, and a Library Reads October pick. Her second book, I Am Deliberate: A Novel, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books.

Her work has been published in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Fader, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and The Best American Essays 2016, among other publications. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kenyon Review, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books, Díaz was asked about the memoir’s structure: “A couple of readers have told me that Ordinary Girls seems to move in a circular or cyclical motion. I kept returning to certain themes, certain events, certain people and places. I gave up the idea of writing a memoir that was strictly chronological because that felt forced; instead, I let things emerge organically. Sometimes I flashed back, sometimes I flashed forward, sometimes I changed tense or point of view. I was driven more by a need to make sense of things, to interrogate memories that had stuck with me through the years.”

A former Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, and Consulting Editor at the Kenyon Review, she splits her time between Montréal and Miami Beach, with her partner, the writer Lars Horn.

Scholarships Available for MDC Students

Miami Book Fair is offering one (1) full-tuition scholarship for MDC students interested in attending the above-listed creative writing workshops. Applicants must be currently-enrolled, (full time or part time) degree-seeking Miami Dade College students with a demonstrated financial need.

To Apply for a Scholarship:

Please send an email to Marci Cancio-Bello, Miami Book Fair programs coordinator at mcanciob@mdc.edu before the start of the workshop you would like to attend. The message must include your contact information, the title of the workshop you’d like to take, a short statement of financial need, your MDC class schedule, and a writing sample. First-time writers who lack a writing sample should submit a statement explaining their interest in the workshop.


$250.00Read more


Tuesday, May 4, 2021
6:30 pm


All Year


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