Writing a Memoir to Understand Your Family
All Levels | How do memoirists keep their voices distinct while honoring the voice of family members? We will read excerpts from memoirs by Kao Kalia Yang, James McBride, Kat Chow, Maya Shanbhag Lang, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Laura Davis, and Laraine Herring. Through the use of interviews, dialogue, letters, speculation, invention, and memory, we will look at how these authors brought their family members to life on the page. Come with photos or mementos of the member(s) of your family you wish to write about.
Elizabeth Marquis~Mayorca is a poet, playwright, essayist, and founder/violin/viola instructor for the Cypress Violin/Viola Studio. Her essay, "Seeing Vanity" was published by The Maine Review in the summer of 2021. Her essay "The Turtle Vs. the Hare or Who Have I Favored in this Life?" was published by Adelaide Literary Journal in February 2021. "I Thought You Italian Girls Were Supposed to be Sexy" was published March 2020 in Ovunque Siamo, New Italian~American Writing. Her poem, "Texas Wildflowers" was published in the 2021 Texas Poetry Calendar through Kallisto Gaia Press. She received 1st prize for the Poets for Human Rights, Anita McAndrews Award for “A rock shaped like a house, found in the mountains.” Her poems have been featured in the Houston Poetry Fest publication, Central Texas Live Poets Society Anthology, Vox Poetica, The Issue (of the Worcester County Poetry Association, MA), NYU’s Minetta Review, and Austin’s International Poetry Festival. “Sewing in Syria” was published in New Monologues for Women by Women, through Heinemann Drama. Her plays have been produced at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the State Theater in Austin, Texas through Scriptworks, and at Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, California. With her sister Francesca Greene, she created Sister Symmetry, a book of original poetry and paintings. She edited and wrote the introduction and afterward for Sea of Images (The Collected Poems of Walter John Hawver: Soldier-Patriot-Poet) which showed how my Uncle Walt’s mind changed as he developed schizophrenia upon returning from the Vietnam War. She is currently writing a memoir about her relationship with her New York-born, Calabrese grandmother. Elizabeth Marquis~Mayorca received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU where she received the Rod Marriot Playwriting Award. Her VCFA lecture and writing prompt was titled, “Challenges and Rewards in Writing in the Voice of our Ancestors.” She has had the honor of being mentored by Wendy Dale, Paul Selig, Gary Garrison, John Walch, Harrison Calendaria Fletcher, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Robert Vivian, Richard Jackson, Betsy Sholl, and participated in workshops with Sue William Silverman, Patrick Madden, and Cynthia Huntington. She is grateful for their guidance and expertise. She hopes to pass on their hard-earned wisdom.