Speculative Memoir: Making Space for the Imagined and Unexplained

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 @ 2:00 pm -3:15 pm Eastern

Memoir is not a mere series of facts; it’s a vehicle for telling a story that the author experienced, and there are many ways to evoke the truth of that story.


Additional Information

Speculative memoir is finding its rightful place in the world of creative nonfiction. Books like Carmen Maria Machado’s Into the Dream House, Ariel Gore’s We Were Witches, Anna Joy Springer’s The Vicious Red Relic, Love, and Sofia Samatar’s Monster Portraits have expanded our understanding of what is possible in memoir, showing us a wide range of storytelling approaches unbound by the traditional restraints of the genre. Aligning the imaginative realms with the external events of a life is a natural connection for storytellers. Too, the worlds of spirits, ghosts, and the supernatural are not considered “untrue” in many cultures; whose cultural view gets to determine truth? Far from being fiction, speculative elements can bring a reader deeper into the emotional and psychological realities of the memoirist’s psyche.

This webinar offers insight into the vast potential of speculative memoir and provides tools for you to bring speculative elements into your own writing—without breaking the contract with the reader for “accuracy” in memoir.

In this webinar, you will:

  • EXAMINE how memoir always engages with the speculative, even if there are no apparent ghosts or magical elements.
  • CONSIDER various definitions of speculative memoir.
  • UNDERSTAND, through a short case study of the presenter’s speculative memoir, how and why the form was selected for her story.
  • LEARN how, when, and why to use speculative elements in your own memoir.

There will be time for a Q&A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for memoirists interested in alternative ways of storytelling, and memoirists who have second guessed their intuitive way of sharing their stories and viewing the world. Also, anyone who loves ghosts!

All registrants receive a recording.

Closed captioning will be available.

Course Presenter

Course Registration


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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

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I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill