Learn how to write short pieces of memoir in this series of workshops held by Writer in Residence Annette Gendler at the Hemingway Birthplace.
Memoir is the genre of our time, and more and more people are tempted to write their own. Life is big, and thus we tend to think of writing memoir as a big project—a book project. However, writing a book is a daunting task, and so, quite often, writing memoir is never attempted, even though we all have stories to tell.
There is, however, another way: writing mini memoirs. Writers are more likely to find success by going small, by distilling one particular event into a short memoir. In fact, crafting a story from real life is best learned by focusing on one event. One well crafted scene can capture more of the mosaic of life than 25 pages of exposition. Furthermore, by going small, the structural challenges of a larger piece are avoided, and the chances of having a piece published are higher.
By studying a short memoir piece for inspiration, and learning the craft of writing in scene through guided exercises, participants in this series of workshops can expect to emerge with one complete jewel of a memoir. Each workshop will focus on a particular realm of memory, such as writing about a favorite smell or a meaningful place. This will show students how to engage the senses to create vivid writing while also bringing to life a pivotal memory that has universal appeal.
Classes meet 7-9:30 p.m. at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace, 339 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Ill. February 11, 25 and March 11, 25. Fee: $200
Each student is expected to submit one piece of writing (maximum of ten pages) to the class for critique. Class fee includes reading materials. Class is limited to 12 students.
About the instructor: Annette Gendler writes literary nonfiction and has taught memoir writing at StoryStudio Chicago since 2006. She is currently writer-in-residence at the Hemingway Birthplace Home. Learn more about her at www.annettegendler.com
Join The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park in celebrating the Hemingway Family’s tradition of generosity on December 26th!
In medieval times on the day after Christmas, nobles presented gifts to people who lived on their land. Their gifts, intended to welcome outsiders as family, were presented in boxes, hence the name of the day. Traditional English music and food will entertain guests all afternoon at the Hemingway Birthplace Home, 339 N. Oak Park Ave.
This year, the Foundation is proud to partner with Books to Devour, which distributes reading material to food pantry patrons and builds community through literature and learning. Donations of books will be accepted at the Hemingway Birthplace and Museum during the month of December, and donors will receive admission to Boxing Day. Simply bring in your books on or before the day of the event, and receive a coupon for one free admission! Admission can also be purchased here:
When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you. . . . Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen to you. After being severely wounded two weeks before my nineteenth birthday I had a bad time until I figured out that nothing could happen to me that had not happened to all men before me. Whatever I had to do men had always done. If they had done it then I could do it too and the best thing was not to worry about it.
In the spring of 1918, a young Ernest Hemingway left Oak Park for the Italian front in a war the United States had only entered months before. He enlisted with the Red Cross, serving first in an ambulance unit and then as a canteen worker.
In June of that year, while distributing chocolate bars and cigarettes to soldiers at Fossalta di Piave, an Austrian mortar exploded and shrapnel struck Hemingway; 227 pieces cut into his body. While carrying a wounded comrade to safety, Hemingway was hit by machine-gun fire.
He was not yet 19 years old. His later work, and that of many of his contemporaries, dealt with the aftershocks of war, and the way it changed those who fought and those who loved them.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of that war, Hemingway's first, The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park announces the following programs:
The premiere of “A Farewell to Arms: In Fifteen Seconds,” a Hemingway video commentary on Instagram.com/ehfop.
All November: Free admission to the Hemingway Museum and Birthplace for military, active duty or retired.
Youth art competition:The Hemingway Museum and the National Veterans Art Museum will accept collages from artists ages 5-18 on the theme of “Peace Triumphant,” to be exhibited at the two museums during the month of December.
An exhibit of collages on the theme of “Peace Triumphant,” in honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I. Named after the Oak Park-River Forest War Memorial. The monument is composed of three larger-than-life sized figures in bronze representing the World War I forces on air, land and sea. Behind the soldier, pilot and sailor is a stone figure, representing Columbia in the act of sheathing her sword (indicating the end of war). A bronze wall plaque on the north side is engraved with the names of 56 soldiers from the Oak Park and River Forest area who lost their lives during World War I. Four plaques encircle the first tier of the pedestal base and are engraved with the 2,446 names of the enlisted men from the two communities.
On September 18 at 7 p.m. the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park will host a book signing and presentation with Nancy W. Sindelar, author of Influencing Hemingway.
Join Nancy and members of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park at the Hemingway Birthplace Home, 339 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, for discussion, refreshments and new insights into the early influences of Ernest Hemingway.
Sindelar’s presentation, Ernest Hemingway: Early Influences That Shaped His Life and Work, will focus on the people and places that influenced Hemingway from his birth to his graduation from high school. Using photos from and research for the biography, Sindelar will show that many of the people, places and activities Hemingway was drawn to in his adult life were the result of childhood and teenage interests nurtured in Oak Park by his grandparents, parents and teachers.
She also will sign copies of her recently published biography, Influencing Hemingway: The People and Places That Shaped His Life and Work, which begins with Hemingway’s birth and early influences in Oak Park, recounts his experiences and adventures in Italy, France, Spain, Key West, and Cuba and concludes with an analysis of the events that preceded the author’s suicide in Idaho. This fast-moviing biography is enhanced with unguarded statements from Hemingway’s personal letters and a collection of rarely seen Hemingway photos and reflects on critics’ influence on his life and work.
Sindelar currently lives in Chicago, but was a 32 year resident of River Forest and taught American Literature at Oak Park and River Forest High School.
SOLD OUT September 18: 7 p.m. at the Hemingway Birthplace Home, 339 N. Oak Park Avenue
Second date added: September 24, 7 p.m. at the Hemingway Birthplace Home, 339 N. Oak Park Avenue
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park is proud to announce its 2014-2015 Writer in Residence, Annette Gendler.
Gendler will work in the attic office at the Hemingway Birthplace Home, 339 N. Oak Park Avenue.
Annette writes: "I am honored and thrilled to accept the position of the Hemingway Foundation's writer-in-residence for 2014-15. What could be cooler than writing from Hemingway's attic?
"I look forward to spending more time in Oak Park, to actually being a 'resident.' I've lived in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood for 26 years now; getting my M.A. in International Relations at the University of Chicago brought me there from Germany, where I grew up. So far I have come to Oak Park to visit friends and to tour Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent architecture.
"I also look forward to offering public programming as part of my residency (stay tuned for details!). I write literary nonfiction, mainly memoir, and I have been teaching memoir writing at StoryStudio Chicago since 2006. I served as the 2013 Peter Taylor Nonfiction Teaching Fellow at the Kenyon Writers Workshop last year, and I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte.
"I am currently looking for a publisher for my memoir about an impossible love (between a German and a Jew) that succeeded; an excerpt, 'Giving Up Christmas,' was published in Tablet Magazine, another excerpt, '"Thrown Out" of the Family Home' appeared in the Wall Street Journal. My work has also been in literary magazines such as Bellevue Literary Review, Natural Bridge, Under the Sun, and South Loop Review. I regularly write for the Washington Independent Review of Books as well as the Jewish Book World. The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts is almost my second home as a writer, since I've enjoyed three residencies there, but I expect that Hemingway's attic will surpass that!"
"Annette was selected from an impressive pool of national applicants and brings her skills as a writer of what she calls 'literary non-fiction' to her residency," said Foundation Chairman John W. Berry. "She specializes in memoir writing and the Foundation will kick off a workshop on that topic led by Annette later this year."