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

Webinar FAQs

  • How do I prepare for the webinar?

    We usually open the webinar 3-5 minutes prior to start time (see webinar invite) so you can check your audio settings and make sure everything is working properly on your end. The host will welcome everyone and ask you to introduce yourself and share where you’re joining from in the text-based chat. Participation in the chat is optional.

    The actual webinar program usually gets rolling five minutes after the start time. This is also when the recording starts if you watch the video afterward.

    No one can hear you or see you during the webinar. The only people who are visible and can be heard during the webinar are the instructor and host.

    Audio Settings:
    If you’re unable to hear any sound during the webinar, please look at the bottom left of your Zoom window for Audio Settings, and click the small arrow to check your settings.

    Getting familiar with the Zoom software

    There are several ways to interact with the presenter and other students during the webinar:

    *Live chat

    *Formal Q & A window

    Live Chat:
    The live chat is where you can exchange messages in real time with other students attending the webinar, as well as the instructor and host. Usually your chat visibility defaults to just the presenter/panelists. If you want everyone attending to see your chat message (and most people do), then you need to select “everyone” or “all panelists and attendees” in the chat window.

    How to banish the chat:
    We encourage you to make use of the live chat throughout the webinar because it’s one of the great benefits of joining the live event. However, some find the chat distracting and would like to turn it off. As of today, Zoom doesn’t allow students to disable the chat, but there is a way to effectively “banish” it if you do not want to see it:

    1. Click the Chat icon at the bottom of the Zoom window
    2. When the Chat appears on the side of your window, click the small arrow icon and select Pop Out, which separates the Chat into its own free-floating window
    3. Then, using your cursor, drag the Chat off the side or bottom of your screen

    Formal Q & A:

    All webinars include time for Q & A with the presenter. This will be included in the recording.

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  • When will the recording be available?

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  • Can I still register for [x] webinar?

    If the webinar is not marked “sold out,” you can still join.