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“Memoir in Miniature: The Art of the Personal Essay” Online with M. M. Adjarian

April 8, 2020 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM CDT

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$49 for Members
$109 for Non-Members

Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording for one week.

You have a lifetime of unique stories to tell. But do you know how to take those ordinary – and sometimes not-so-ordinary – experiences and transform them into extraordinary reading that will leave your readers hungry for more?

These days, it seems like everyone – from tween/teen bloggers to seasoned New York Times best-selling authors – is writing about their lives. But what makes some stories more satisfying than others? And more to the point, how can you tell the difference between the kinds of personal stories people want to read and the ones they don’t?

In this class, you’ll learn the art of the personal essay through an in-depth, guided discussion of models by contemporary writers and exercises designed to help you craft a 500 word+ mini personal essay (also known as “flash” nonfiction) that you can use as the basis for (1) a more substantial essay (2500+ words), suitable for journal submission or (2) the seed for a book-length project.

The class is intended for writers of all levels, from beginner to advanced, and will explore how to sift through story material to find those all-important tension points that make people take notice, grab readers by the throat from the start with compelling openings and “shoot straight from the gut” to avoid the narrative clichés guaranteed to turn readers off.


  • You’re writing or interested in writing memoir or personal essays.
  • You’re getting ready to publish a book of fiction and want to publish personal essays to help promote it.
  • You’re trying to find the heart of your memoir.


  • “The writing exercises were great and she suggested a 10-minute a day, every morning (or whenever works for someone) writing practice using a different prompt every day. I thought it was SUCH a great idea!!”
  • “Felt more like a discussion rather than a lecture which I liked”
  • “Excellent, excellent, excellent”


M. M. AdjarianM. M. (Maude) Adjarian has published her essays, short fiction and poetry in such journals as the Baltimore ReviewGrub StreetVerdadSouth 85, The Serving House JournalPifGravelGlint and Crack the Spine, among others. A senior non-fiction book reviewer at Kirkus, her articles have also appeared in Arts+Culture TexasBitch MagazineTribeza-Austin and the Dallas Voice. Currently, she is at work on a family memoir provisionally titled This Life That Binds.

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it. If you prefer this option, please email wlt@writersleague.org with a copy of the form as well to ensure we add you to the class roster as soon as possible.

Expecting to see the member price, but it’s not appearing?

Confirm you are logged into your account first and foremost. The member price will only appear when you are logged into your account and have an active membership on file. If you are having trouble accessing your account, please email member@writersleague.org and explain the situation.

Class & Event Registration Policy

Once a purchase has been made, registrations are not refundable and cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a registration and then find you cannot attend the class or event, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at wlt@writersleague.org and let us know the name and contact information for the person who will be using the registration so that we can update the class or event roster.

Accessibility Policy

Closed captioning is available for all online classes and special events.

The WLT is committed to making its programs & services accessible to all writers. Please contact us at wlt@writersleague.org or at 512-499-8914 for more information or to discuss accommodations you may need.

Credit Card Transaction Handling Fee Policy

All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee. If you’d prefer to pay by check for membership, a class, or an event, you can use the provided forms on the membership or event pages and mail to: WLT, P.O. Box 14355, Austin, TX, 78704.


Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven’t taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to email the WLT staff at wlt@writersleague.org if you’d like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


Once you register for the class, you’ll receive an email with detailed instructions no later than 48 hours before the class date. You should expect 2-2.5 hours of direct teaching and 30 minutes of Q&A (for three hours total). If you need to leave the class early or can’t attend the class on that date, all registrants will have access to the recording for one month after the class date. No microphone or camera required, just an Internet connection capable of streaming video. All online classes are hosted on Zoom. To learn more about how Zoom works, click HERE. 

Plan to log in to the online platform an hour before the class so that you can update your software or any other settings required to access the platform. (Updates usually only take a few minutes, but you don’t want to wait until the beginning of class.) Questions? Email us at wlt@writersleague.org.

Cultural Arts City of Austin

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.

Texas Commission on the Arts

Writers’ League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts – Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to www.arts.texas.gov.

National Endowment for the Arts

This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Mid-America Arts Alliance

This project is supported in part by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. For more information, go to www.maaa.org.


April 8, 2020
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM CDT
Event Categories:


Online Class