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Everyone has a story to tell, and sometimes those stories reveal a shared experience. In this course, we’ll conceive of Memoir as an Act of Witness that documents not only our personal histories, but those of our larger communities as well, from the Latin American “testimonio” of works like I, Rigoberta Menchú to the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter Movements. Then we’ll compose narratives of our own, deploying classic rise-fall story arcs as well as the most innovative forms in the genre: scrambled chronologies, visual autobiographies, and soundscapes. We won’t just elevate our lives into art. We’ll give voice to our shared humanity by striving for narrative justice.
Instructor: Stephanie Elizondo Griest
Stephanie Elizondo Griest is a globetrotting author from the Texas/Mexico borderlands. Her five award-winning books include the travel memoirs: All the Agents and Saints; Mexican Enough; Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; and the best-selling guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go. She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, VQR, Believer, and Oxford American. Distinctions include a Henry Luce Scholarship to China, a Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, and a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Prize. Currently the Associate Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she has performed on five continents in capacities ranging from a Moth storyteller to a literary ambassador for the U.S. State Department.