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52 Snapshots Memoir Starter Workshop

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Most of us have stories to tell. Whether you’re working on a memoir, family history or series of essays, the challenge lies in translating the riches and troubles of our lives into actionable, manageable writing projects. This workshop describes the low-pressure and intuitive process of writing short vivid pieces of scene and memory (or snapshots) as a means of building your book and writing practice. The workshop includes a presentation on how literary “snapshots” work, interactive writing prompts to jumpstart your writing, and concrete guidance to develop a manageable writing plan beyond the workshop.


Sonja Livingston‘s latest book of essays, The Virgin of Prince Streeta gold INDIES Book award recipient, was praised by Richard Rohr “infusing nuance and generosity into an increasingly polarized religious landscape.” Sonja’s first book, Ghostbread, a memoir of childhood poverty in western New York, has been widely adopted for classroom use. Her writing has been honored with an AWP Book prize, a NYFA Nonfiction Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, a VanderMey Nonfiction Prize, an Arts & Letters Essay Prize, and appears in many outlets such as Salon, Brevity, and Creative Nonfiction, as well as in several textbooks on writing. Her new booklet, 52 Snapshots, is a compilation of tried and true writing exercises used in her workshops for the past two decades. Sonja is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and teaches in the Postgraduate Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and in the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop.