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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 April 5 to May 24, 2022

Online via Zoom

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Randy Winston at

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”—we will explore 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.

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. The course’s underlying lesson is this: every life can yield ample and gorgeous material for works of fiction.

Capacity: 12


Led by

  • Immergut-authorphoto-22 - Debra J. Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut is the author of You Again (Ecco/HarperCollins), a New York Times Best of 2020 and a finalist for the 2021 Gotham Book Prize. Her 2018 novel The Captives (Ecco/HarperCollins) was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Debut Novel and published in over a dozen countries worldwide. She has also published a collection of short fiction, Private Property (Random House). Her essays and stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Narrative, the New York Times, PANK, and Hobart, among others. She is a recipient of Michener and MacDowell fellowships and was nominated for the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.