Claiming Your Territory.png

Claiming Your Territory: Fiction or Memoir?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

3:00PM - 6:00PM

$60 New Student | $45 Returning

Live Stream Available

This seminar will explore the formal and expressive possibilities—and limits—of fiction and memoir to address the question: Which genre might best serve the stories you want to tell, including the stories from your own life? The Nobel Laureate novelist Saul Bellow once said, “Fiction is the higher autobiography.” We’ll debate this claim and also consider the recent emergence of autofiction, a hybrid literary form that blurs if not erases the boundary between actual and imagined events. How might you exploit such boundary ambiguity to express your own felt experience, your voice, and the truth of your narrative? And what is truth in a literary context? Using, among other sources, the novelist Paul Auster’s compilation of true stories from NPR’s “National Story Project,” we’ll look at real-life narratives and then consider short fiction that corresponds to those narratives in plot and theme. As we analyze the qualities anchoring each genre, we’ll expand our sense of how the eye (perception of experience) and the mind’s eye (imagination) animate each one. We’ll generate our own fiction and nonfiction in the class, experimenting with how various elements—such as shape, voice/tone, and selective imagery—realize our intentions. We’ll also discuss:

  • The challenge of memory

  • The history of the tradition of blended literary genres

  • The classic writing advice to write what you know

    Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

    • Eden Elieff Presenter

    • Sunday, November 11, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM

    • Seminar meets at The Drawing Board at 75 & Campbell: 1900 Jay Ell Dr / Richardson, TX / 75081

    • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

    Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.


Instructor Eden Elieff is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, a teacher, and private writing coach. She has published work in literary journals, the Dallas Morning News, and also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Student Testimonials

“There are lots of good writing teachers; Eden Elieff is one of the great ones. She’s not just a published writer & extremely knowledgeable about the entire field.  She’s also a great instructor. She focuses on supporting you & your writing goals and makes you do the work. From provoking you to counseling you to giving you actionable ideas, Eden will help you get to where you should go. Whatever writing subject she teaches - take her course!”

"Yesterday filled me with joy. What was I doing? I was in Eden Elieff's Fiction or Memoir Class. Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious. Her materials (excerpts from esteemed texts, both memoir and fiction) were eye-opening. Her writing exercises were invigorating. The entire three hours transported me back to my beloved MFA days and reminded me of why I am a writer. (Bonus: She has her MFA from Bennington!) Through the examination of the passages, I was able to further paw my way out of my pile of confusion over what I am writing and I feel I am closer now to what I must pursue: an autobiographical novel, which I had no idea existed. Or rather, was classified as such. I highly HIGHLY recommend her as a teacher. I look forward to more classes with Eden!"