More than Memoir

Course Fee: $20
Summer 2017
Cris Beam

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.


For course schedule and location, please visit the School of Professional Studies summer site here.



Current Columbia students can review tuition and fees here.
Visiting students can review tuition and fees here.




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