Rhoda Janzen, Special Guest and Memoir

Rhoda Janzen

Bear River 2013

Rhoda Janzen's first memoir was the #1 New York Times bestseller Mennonite in a Little Black Dress [Henry Holt, 2009], a finalist for the national James Thurber Award for Humor 2010, and a finalist for the Arlin G. Meyer Prize for Imaginative Writing 2012. Released in twelve countries and five languages, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress also became the #1 bestseller in England. In the United States, the memoir engaged both popular and belletristic media, with reviews appearing in sources as diverse as People, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, Time, and IndieNextPick. Janzen's new memoir, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? [Grand Central, October 2012], is currently a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Awards 2012. Janzen is also the author of Babel's Stair, a collection of poetry. She contributes poems to Poetry, the Yale Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Southern Review, and many others. Janzen teaches American literature, grammar, and creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
Photo Credit: Shelley LeLonde

Workshop: Memoir: Enlarging the Story of Self

This workshop spotlights creative nonfiction techniques that help move memoir out of the realm of contemplative belly-gazing. In a culture whose core values turn on self-expression, how can writers do and say more? If it's not enough to have a story, what else do writers need? The workshop will help us practice connecting the dots between sight and insight. Structurally speaking, what's current? What's outmoded? What makes an editor yawn? And, conversely, what will make her read your manuscript on the subway? Together we'll look at narrative arc, character, configuration, voice, chronos, kairos, and syntax. And that's just for starters.

Rhoda Janzen on the Web