Work in Progress: Memoir
with Bernard Cooper in Silver Lake

Eight Wednesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 16 to December 11, 2019
(with no class on November 27)


This memoir-focused workshop will help build and strengthen structure, voice, point of view, scene vs. exposition, and other crucial elements of long-form memoir writing. In addition to discussing memoir excerpts that exemplify these elements, the class will cover techniques for sticking to a long-term goal—how to continue to find inspiration and fresh ideas and how to keep sight of the forest while surrounded by trees. Most importantly, the members of this workshop will make significant strides in their work in progress. Over the course of this class, students will meet weekly word count requirements and have the opportunity to submit up to 30 pages of their own work for constructive feedback from peers and the instructor. This workshop will take place in Silver Lake, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.

Our Work in Progress classes are designed for writers who have started a first draft of a story, essay, or book-length project and who would like constructive criticism and astute readers as they continue to write. Writers can take multiple versions of our Work in Progress classes until their drafts are complete.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 for new students; $380 for returning students.
(Payment plans available to returning students.)

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Bernard Cooper is the author of memoir, My Avant-Garde Education, recently published by W.W. Norton. He is also the author of The Bill From My FatherMaps To AnywhereA Year of RhymesTruth Serum, and a collection of short stories, Guess Again. Cooper is the recipient of the PEN/USA Ernest Hemingway Award, the O. Henry Prize, a Guggenheim grant, and a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship in literature. His work has appeared in several anthologies, including The Best American Essays of 19881995, 1997, 2002, and 2008. His work has also appeared in magazines and literary reviews including Granta, Harper’s Magazine, The Paris Review, Story, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine. He has contributed to National Public Radio’s “This American Life” and for six years was the art critic for Los Angeles Magazine. Visit him online here.



"Cooper is a memoirist in the Tobias Wolff vein, and [The Bill from My Father] is a rueful, self-effacing, yet dazzlingly precise affair." —The Seattle Times

"Honest and keen-eyed. . . [The Bill from My Father is] a nuanced, pained portrayal of how—and often how awkwardly—men love." —The New York Times

“In My Avant-Garde Education, Bernard Cooper delivers a kind of magic. He works in a mode that is so subtle, so ingenious, so deeply rooted in the visceral that it almost defies verbal description.…This book employs the best practices of the best memoirs…By asking, "what is art?" Cooper is really asking, "what is life?" And though he gives us no easy answers, he explores these questions with such insight, humor, and generosity of spirit that we come away not only educated but genuinely enlightened.” —Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion