Writing your personal sTORY:

If you want to learn ALL about memoir —and you're seeking a SMALL group focused on YOUR work—this is the workshop for you.

How do I tell my life story? What exactly might that be? How do I make my story interesting for others? 

These are some of the central questions we will explore in this rigorous but highly supportive class. Based on the instructor’s unique approach, this workshop encourages you to try different narrative "voices" and techniques as a way of discovering both your authentic, unique story and your full range as a writer.

Each meeting will primarily focus on your work. But it will also include two other ingredients:  a short craft talk about a central aspect of memoir-writing; and, secondly, a close reading of a memoir "great." 

Assignments arise out of these close readings, and you should expect to write four new short pieces (up to 5 pages).  Your assignments will be discussed in group every other week, and you'll receive written comments on opposite weeks. This way your work gets as much focus as possible.

Warning! Paul is the kindest disciplinarian I’ve ever met, and he completely transformed my writing…(Thanks for a wonderful workshop experience with you. You really are a special teacher).
— Tasmine Mocke, MFA & Writing Instructor, NYU

We are also going to focus on major aspects of craft: What (exactly) is memoir? How do you create a compelling voice (“narrator”) on the page? How do you figure out what’s at stake in your story? What’s the memoir’s relationship to truth? How do you move beyond the most obvious way to tell your story--chronologically--and why is that important? And how do you navigate other people’s feelings and your right to tell your story?

Readings will include short excerpts from some of the following, all of whom I've included in previous incarnations of this workshop: James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Vivian Gornick, George Orwell, Cheryl Strayed, Lucy Grealy, Hilton Als, E.B White, Mary Karr, Jo Ann Beard, Lia Purpura, Doris Lessing, Frank McCourt, Nick Flynn, David Foster Wallace & many others besides.


I accept payments thru Stripe. Simply click ADD CART button and follow instructions. I can also accept a personal check if you prefer. Please email me.

Full refunds are available up to one week before workshop. If you need to withdraw for whatever reason up until our first workshop, I will refund 50% of the workshop fee. There is no refund after the first session.

what previous students say...

 “As a writing teacher, Paul focuses on the inseparability of artistic depth and technical skill. His class made me better at story and structure—and as a writer who has always worked from instinct alone, this was enormously helpful…Paul has a wonderful ability to see into a writer’s dilemma and offer just the right advice for moving through it. Most important, he offers it in the right way, clearly but with a light touch. I’ve gone back to my writing career with increased confidence.” 
Susan Piver, author of NYT-bestselling The Hard Questions series


“We met at University of the Arts [in Philadelphia] a number of years ago. You were the best writing teaching I have ever had…bar none (and I've had quite a few!) Just wanted to tell you that the story I wrote in your workshop, “My Own Kaddish,” is about to be published...Your way of teaching, using models of excellent writing along with thoughtful responses in a workshop setting (along with your warm and supportive personality) has proven to be the most generative approach I have ever experienced. Just wanted to let you know that."
Marsha Pincus, Carnegie Fellow & Philadelphia Teacher of the Year

“I was impressed with Paul's vast literary knowledge and insight into the craft of memoir, as well as other genres. He is a highly knowledgeable teacher with literary sensibilities whose skills I will call upon again and again—he has a unique ability to locate the voice behind the story and help the writer to create an uncommonly powerful narrative.”

Ilie Ruby, The Language of Trees and The Salt God's Daughter 

“As a trainer of language and literacy teachers, I can say without reservations that you work wonders in the writing classroom. You are a truly gifted teacher.”

    Charlie Grove, Professor, West Chester University