Troy, NY (PressExposure) September 02, 2008 -- Things are about to get personal at The Arts Center of the Capital Region, with the launch next month of a far-reaching new writing program at the Troy institution.
Dubbed The Memoir Project and growing out of a series of meetings with area writers commenced last Spring, the new program will include a wide range of classes, workshops, readings and other presentations throughout the year--all grounded in the ways writers mine personal experience to dig up nuggets of universal truth.
The Memoir Project has its origins in a perennially sold-out class that has been an Arts Center staple for more than a decade--"Writing What You Know," a personal essay class taught by author Marion Roach Smith--according to Amy Williams, president of the multi-arts center.
"We've always known remarkable things were happening in Marion's classes. A lot of people come into class as beginning writers and leave as published authors," Williams said. "So, we began asking writers, students and teachers what we could do to build on that and make The Arts Center a resource for even more writers and readers."
The answer they got was that more and more writers (and aspiring writers) are seeking the skills and techniques to tell their own stories, and more and more readers are eager to take in those personal accounts, she said.
To address both audiences, The Memoir Project includes a dozen new classes beginning next month and spanning such writing genres as poetry, essay, travel writing, playwrighting, and more, all filtered through a memoirist's sensibilities. Additional workshops will focus on such topics as manuscript revision, led by seasoned book editor Sandi Gelles-Cole, and a weekend seminar in which Gelles-Cole and Marion Roach will help writers hone in on the most promising, and marketable, concept in their works-in-progress.
The program will also include a series of readings and author appearances geared to both readers and writers seeking insight into the methods of such masterful memoirists as Da Chen ("Colors of the Mountain") and Laura Shaine Cunningham ("A Place in the Country"); Da Chen will read at The Arts Center onSept. 22, and Cunningham's presentation is set for Oct. 20.
The Fall reading series focuses on poetry the following month, with a reading by RPI professor Julie Gutman on Nov. 17, and will feature playwright Sandi Dollinger on Dec. 15.
All of the readings will take place at The Arts Center, 265 River Street in Troy, and are free and open to the public.