Writing About Home and Family

Aug 08, 2022 3:00PM—Aug 12, 2022 5:30PM


Write On, Door County Writing Center 4210 Juddville Road Fish Creek, WI 54212

Cost $550.00



The Writing On The Door Week-Long Master Class Series offers intensive sessions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for intermediate to advanced writers


Session Description:

The age-old advice for writers— “Write what you know”—is helpful but incomplete.  When we are overly familiar with the subject matter and believe that we have all the answers, the writing we produce becomes flat because it lacks the sense of intrigue or discovery.  “Write what you know but don’t really understand” may be a more productive or better-nuanced piece of advice.

Our family of origin and childhood, or the family we’ve made through marriage, partnership and/or parenthood, all fall under the category of “what we know but don’t really understand.”  This master class will address the advantages, pitfalls, dangers, thrills, inspiration, reluctance, ease, or difficulty in writing about home and family: places and people we know so well and still don’t fully understand.

How can we write about our childhood or our children with emotion but not sentimentality?  How can we give ourselves permission to portray family members who are not writers and therefore cannot tell their own stories in print?  How can we be honest and fair, empathetic but also critical if criticism is needed?  How should we (as narrator/writer/commentator in the piece) portray who we used to be as characters in the story we tell?  These and other questions will be considered and discussed.

The class is intended for writers who have some experience and fluency with personal narrative, either the long form (memoir) or the short form (personal essay).  Each class will feature discussions of assigned reading materials (from handouts), brief take-home assignments, and workshop discussions of the participant’s ongoing projects.  Each participant should bring a piece of personal narrative that features home or family (past, present, or both).  This can be a stand-alone personal essay or a chapter from a memoir in progress.  It should be no more than 6,500 words.

Participants are expected to have prior workshop experience and have work-in-progress to share with other attendees.

Session Details:

  • The class will be held in-person Monday through Friday, August 8 through 12, 3:00 – 5:30 pm.
  • Tuition for the master session is $550. Write On members receive a 10% discount. To become a member and save, please click here. To register online for this program, please click the button below. For other registration options, please call 920.868.1457.
  • Class size is limited to 12 participants.
  • Write On will adhere to current health department guidelines.
  • The week includes a reading by the three conference presenters — Lan Samantha Chang, Nan Cohen, and Kyoko Mori — and some social activities.
  • Participants are responsible for securing their own housing for the week. For a listing of accommodations, please visit Destination Door County. We strongly encourage reserving your lodging far in advance.

About Kyoko Mori:

Kyoko Mori’s award-winning first novel, Shizuko’s Daughter, was hailed by The New York Times as “a jewel of a book, one of those rarities that shine out only a few times in a generation.” Her many critically acclaimed books include Yarn, Polite Lies, The Dream of Water (nonfiction) and Stone Field True Arrow and One Bird (fiction). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The American Scholar, the Harvard Review, the Kenyon Review, and the Best American Essays, among others.

She has taught at Harvard University and Goucher College and is currently on the faculty of George Mason University and Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. She lives in Washington, DC.