The Funny Thing About Memory

  with Shonda Buchanan in Jefferson Park

Six Thursdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 17 to November 21, 2019

“That's not the way I remember it.” How many times have writers described an incident in their lives only to have that memory be challenged by friends and family members? That's the nature of the memoir beast, and this six-week workshop will help you deal with temporal transitions, accessing and recovering memory, and how to use memory to propel your narratives forward. Reading narrative nonfiction, literary and mainstream essays, and memoir excerpts, we will analyze the work of authors who have successfully used memory as a tool in various ways. We will explore the genre in its multifaceted forms while discerning cultural perspectives such as gender, identity, and ethnicity.

This class will take place in Jefferson Park, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$350 for new students; $320 for returning students
(Payment plans available to returning students.)

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Award-winning poet and educator Shonda Buchanan (1968) was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a daughter of Mixed Bloods, tri-racial and tri-ethnic African American, American Indian and European-descendant families who migrated from North Carolina and Virginia in the mid-1700 to 1800s to Southwestern Michigan. Black Indian, her memoir, begins the saga of these migration stories of Free People of Color communities exploring identity, ethnicity, landscape and loss.

For the last 18 years, Shonda has taught Creative Writing, Composition and Critical Theory at Loyola Marymount University, Hampton University and William & Mary College. An Eloise Klein-Healy Scholarship recipient, a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a Jentel Artist Residency fellow and a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow, Shonda has received grants from the California Community Foundation, Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Program and several grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Her first book of poetry, Who's Afraid of Black Indians?, was nominated for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the Library of Virginia Book Awards. Literary Editor of Harriet Tubman Press, her second collection of poetry, Equipoise: Poems from Goddess Country, was published by San Francisco Bay Press. Shonda's poetry and essays have been featured in numerous anthologies. Freelance writer for the LA Weekly since 1991 and Indian Country Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Writer's Chronicle, Shonda is completing a novel and a collection of poetry about the iconic singer, concert pianist and Civil Rights activist, Nina Simone. For more information visit, and Follow Shonda @shondabuchanan.