Summer Writing Course | More than Memoir

WRIT S4710
3 points
Instructor: Cris Beam
For course schedule and location, please visit the School of Professional Studies summer site here.
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Many of us want to write memoirs, but families—good or bad—are loaded territory. How do we navigate wisely?
In this class we’ll look at writers who have done it, such as James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Vivian Gornick, Richard Rodriguez, and Sister Souljah, to trace their fault lines and unearth their strategies for remaining faithful to their readers while truthful to their lived experience. We’ll look at issues of voice and point of view, and how to gain enough emotional distance from characters to make them both believable and three-dimensional. We’ll write and workshop several family scenes, building them into a few full-length stories or, if the student wishes, chapters for a larger work.
Tuition & Fees
Students can review tuition and fees here.

Materials Fee: $20
For questions about School of the Arts summer courses, including those concerning admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Professional Studies summer team at, or 212-854-9666. With questions about specific course content, please contact Writing Departmental Representative Dorothea Lasky at

WRIT S4710

About the Instructor

Cris Beam

Cris Beam is the author of To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care (Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt, 2013), which was named a 2013 New York Times Notable Book as well as Transparent: Love, Family and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers (Harcourt 2007), which won a Lambda Literary Award and was a Stonewall Honor book. Her young adult novel, I Am J  (Little Brown, 2011), was named a Kirkus Best Book and Library Guild Selection, and is the first book with a transgender character to land on the state of California's recommended reading list for public high schools. Her latest book, I Feel You, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt in 2017. Cris' work has also been featured in the New York Times, The Awl, The Huffington Post, The Guardian and on This American Life. She’s an Assistant Professor of Creative writing at William Paterson University in New Jersey and lives in New York City. more

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