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Writing Workshops

Closer to the Truth: Translating Memory Into Fiction with Debra Jo Immergut (Sold Out)


8 Sessions

Out of stock

Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT May 4 to June 22, 2021

Online via Zoom

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Thierry Kehou at

Fiction is an extraordinary machine for distilling deeply personal experience into art. In this generative workshop, we’ll examine how writers of stories and novels can most effectively harness that machine’s power.

Keeping in mind Joan Didion’s observations about the differences between truth and fact (“how it felt to me: that is getting closer to the truth”), we’ll explore various ways to mine our lives for powerful raw material while avoiding overexposure. We’ll consider when it’s best to hew close to “real life” and when it’s better to recast, reshape, or simply lie about everything for greater narrative drive and resonance. We’ll discuss the blurred lines between fiction and autofiction, and we’ll try to locate the best place for our own work along that continuum.

Each meeting will focus on a different element of story construction, providing a theme for our readings from current and classic fiction and for our in-class writing sessions. We will read each other’s work, too, and respond with insight and compassion. By the course’s end, I hope participants will share my belief that every life can yield ample and gorgeous material for stories, novels, and more.

All Levels
Capacity: 12

This workshop will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.


Led by

  • authorpichires 2 - Debra J. Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut is the author of You Again, a New York Times Best Thriller of 2020 and a finalist for the Gotham Book Prize, and The Captives, a 2019 Edgar Award finalist for Best Debut Novel by an American Author,  published in over a dozen other countries. She has also published a story collection, Private Property. Her essays and stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Narrative, Hobart, PANK, the New York Times, and elsewhere. She is currently nominated for the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize, and is a recipient of Michener and MacDowell fellowships. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in western Massachusetts.