Closer to the Truth: Translating Memory into Fiction with Debra Jo Immergut — Sold Out
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Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST September 28 to November 16, 2021
Online via Zoom
This workshop has reached its capacity. Please click here to join the waitlist.
Fiction is an extraordinary machine for distilling deeply personal experience into art. In this generative workshop, participants will 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”— the class will explore various ways to mine their lives for powerful raw material while avoiding overexposure. Participants will 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. The class will discuss the blurred lines between fiction and autofiction, and participants will try to locate the best place for their own work along that continuum.
Each meeting will focus on a different element of story construction, providing a theme for readings from current and classic fiction and for in-class writing sessions. Participants will also read each other’s work, and respond with insight and compassion. By the course’s end, participants will have an understanding of how every life can yield ample and gorgeous material for stories, novels, and more.
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.
By Debra Jo Immergut
By Debra Jo Immergut
Published by Ecco
Abigail Willard first spots her from the back of a New York cab: the spitting image of Abby herself at age twenty-two—right down to the silver platforms and raspberry coat she wore as a young artist with a taste for wildness. But the real Abby is now forty-six and married, with a corporate job and two kids. As the girl vanishes into a rainy night, Abby is left shaken. Was this merely a hallucinatory side effect of working-mom stress? A message of sorts, sent to remind her of passions and dreams tossed aside? Or something more explosive and life-altering?
As weeks go by, Abby continues to spot her double around her old New York haunts—and soon, despite her better instincts, Abby finds herself tailing her look-alike. She is dogged by a nagging suspicion that there is a deeper mystery to figure out, one rooted far in her past. All the while, Abby’s life starts to slip from her control: her marriage hits major turbulence, her teenage son drifts into a radical movement that portends a dark coming era. When her elusive double presents her with a dangerous proposition, Abby must decide how much she values the life she’s built, and how deeply she knows herself.
You Again is an audaciously constructed novel, an unboxing of memory, desire, and regret—and an electrifying portrait of a woman hurtling toward a key crossroads in her life, where a secret lies buried like an undetonated bomb.
About this series
We strive to make our classes the most inviting and rewarding available, offering an intimate environment to study with award-winning, world-class writers. Each class is specially designed by the instructor, so whether you’re a fledgling writer or an MFA graduate polishing your novel, you’ll find a perfect fit here.