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  • The Quest of Purposeful Memoir: Exploring the Past, Creating the Future // with Jennifer Browdy, PhD

The Quest of Purposeful Memoir: Exploring the Past, Creating the Future // with Jennifer Browdy, PhD

  • 14 January 2022
  • 16 January 2022
  • Online
  • 9


Registration is closed

In a series of lively, writing-intensive online sessions, veteran college professor Jennifer Browdy, PhD, guides you on a deep and far-reaching exploration of specific moments in your life story, seeking clarity about the significance of those episodes that you just can’t forget.

Setting your individual life into the larger context of your time and place, we’ll ask how the lessons you have learned can be of benefit to others, and consider what your purpose might be should you decide to share your memoir more widely. As purposeful memoirists, we look back over our life stories in order to better understand the present moment, and to step more intentionally into the thriving future we desire, for ourselves and those around us.

Whether you are new to writing or an established author, this hands-on, generative workshop will open stimulating new avenues of inquiry for you to explore. Recommended text: Purposeful Memoir as a Quest for a Thriving Future, by Jennifer Browdy (Green Fire Press, 2021). 

Class schedule 

Friday, January 14, 12 – 1:30PM EST 

Welcome and overview, with initial guidance on generative writing for memoir, and first thought-provoking prompts.

Saturday, January 15, 12 – 1:30PM EST, 2 – 3:30PM EST

On the Quest of Purposeful Memoir: we’ll unearth and explore significant moments in your life story with stimulating prompts, sharing and discussion. We’ll also try a bit of alchemical writing, using the magic of fiction to understand real life more fully. There will be an optional homework assignment for Saturday night. 

Sunday, January 16, 12 – 1:30PM EST, 2 – 3:30PM EST

We’ll consider how you can set your own life story into the wider collective history of your time and place, with prompts, sharing and discussion. How is your life story representative of many others, and therefore even more important for you to tell? We’ll end with reflections on how your purposeful memoir, whether as a contemplative journey or a published book, might make a positive difference in the world. 

Who Should Take This Class

Purposeful memoir is a contemplative practice that is excellent for people who are interested in writing a memoir for publication, as well as for anyone who would like to use writing as a means of reflecting more deeply on their life story. The class creates a welcoming circle that invites connection and community-building as we embark on an individual and collective exploration of our life experiences as they have unfolded in the larger landscapes of our time and place. 


The day before class begins, you will receive the class Zoom links to log into the class. There are no browser requirements, and Zoom is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email tlan.coordinator@gmail.com.

From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

About the Facilitator

Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D. is a professor of comparative literature, writing and media arts at Bard College/Simon’s Rock in western Massachusetts, where she has taught for more than 25 years, with a focus on women’s personal narratives from around the world, and communications strategies for social and environmental justice. She is also a professor in the online Open Society University Network, administered by Bard College with partner institutions around the world. Jennifer’s environmental memoir, What I Forgot ...And Why I Remembered, was a finalist for the 2018 International Book Awards. Her writer’s guide, The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir, won a 2017 Nautilus Silver Award. Jennifer provides coaching and manuscript review for authors in fiction and nonfiction, and offers memoir workshops online and in person. Her latest book, Purposeful Memoir as a Quest for a Thriving Future, features her photographs of beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada, where she is a longtime summer resident. Find out more at JenniferBrowdy.com.

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