Memoir writing

Introduction to Writing Memoir

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Chronicle your life experiences!

What is memoir?

Webster’s defines memoir as a “narrative composed from personal experience".

Workshop Series:

The Introduction to Writing Memoir course will focus on transcribing the author’s uniquely personal reflections on his/her early life experiences. The parameters of social mores, cultural traditions, and historical events will be explored, as well as various styles of memoir writing. Class members will be challenged to explore - in depth - various settings, people of influence, choices with consequences, narrow escapes, and frivolous but insightful vignettes. 

The class will offer encouragement to all aspiring authors with a heavy dash of humor and goodwill. Encouragement will come not only from collective class support, but also from one-on-one discussions between the author and the teacher, who will act as a personal writing coach. The writing process will be discussed and modeled in detail, and several published and unpublished memoirs will be discussed. The course will utilize writing prompts, brainstorming techniques, and small supportive reading/writing groups. Although there will be 30 minutes of in-class writing time each week, it is expected that some written narratives be finished out of class. At the end of the course, there will be a published personal memoir available to each participant/author of his/her early life history. The finished memoir will also showcase the author’s unique personality and will be worthy to be passed down as a legacy to children or grandchildren. Selected pieces, collectively produced by each class, are bound into an anthology.

Don't wait for the "right time".

Check back for dates.

Some of the topics that may be covered in Memoir Course #1 - In the Beginning include:


This workshop will be offered at the VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education, located at 9 W. Cary Street.


Fee: $125 for the 10-week course, with 15 hours of instruction
Deadline: Registrations will be accepted until the date listed in the course directory. Payment must be received before the start date.

Prerequisite: This workshop is for people with English as their primary language.

Course materials needed:

Withdraw/Refund Policy

You may cancel your registration by the registration deadline, and receive a full refund minus any credit card processing fees. After that date, no refunds will be given. Cancellations must be received via phone at 804-828-1322 or email at

Workshop Facilitator

Ellen L. Woodruff, Ph.D. is a former K-12 teacher, with a background in journalism and secondary education. After receiving her doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University, she became an educational consultant. For the past six years, Dr. Woodruff has taught an annual one semester writing class solely devoted to chronicling one's life experiences. She has received so much insight into the lives - and invaluable lessons - from her students.

Want to find out more? Get in touch.