Workshop

Writing About Dead Relatives: Turning Family History into Story

With: 
Lee Chilcote

Our family history and stories of what happened before we were born shape us as people and writers. We all carry these stories inside of us, and oftentimes they’re passed down through oral histories, diaries, and letters. As writers, this is rich material. But how do we explore family history in nonfiction, without betraying our relatives or resorting to nostalgia and cliché? How do we write about the lives of long-dead relatives, when memory is faulty and people aren’t around to speak their own truths? This session will explore how writers from James Joyce to James McBride have drawn on family histories for inspiration and meaning. You’ll leave with practical suggestions and a bibliography of resources for how you can write about your family history.

Class Details

Prerequisites: None

Genre: Nonfiction/memoir

Level: Emerging

Format: Literary analysis and craft workshop with generative work outside of class.

Location: This class takes place at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107.

Size: Limited to 12 participants (including scholarships).

Suggested Sequence: Follow this class with an intermediate level memoir, nonfiction, or essay writing course.

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by December 1.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email info@litcleveland.org.

Monday, April 3, 2023
6:30 pm
 - 
8:30 PM
Monday, April 10, 2023
6:30 pm
 - 
8:30 PM
Monday, April 17, 2023
6:30 pm
 - 
8:30 PM
Monday, April 24, 2023
6:30 pm
 - 
8:30 PM
Class Level:
​Emerging
​Emerging
Class Categories:

Work with the best...

Lee Chilcote

Lee Chilcote is a journalist, poet and author whose writing has been published by Vanity Fair, Next City, Belt and many literary journals as well as in The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, The Cleveland Anthology and A Race Anthology. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks The Shape of Home and How to Live in Ruins and has taught creative writing to youth and adults. He is a founder and past executive director of Literary Cleveland.


Lakewood United Methodist Church

15700 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107

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