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Write a Memoir You Can Actually Sell: An Introduction to Memoir Plus with Leigh Stein


Thirty years ago, memoirs had a big moment: Tobias Wolff published This Boy's Life in 1989 and then came Girl, Interrupted (1993), The Liars' Club (1995) and Slow Motion (1998). But the market for memoir has evolved and social media has played a big role in its evolution. You no longer need to buy a hardcover to see inside the life of a stranger: all you have to do is open Instagram, where people are documenting their lives in real time for an audience. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, many successful memoirists today are writing "memoir plus" by combining personal narrative with research, original reporting, history, true crime, and/or cultural criticism.


In this seminar, we'll look at examples of memoir plus by authors including Emma Copley Eisenberg, Suleika Jaouad, Leslie Jamison, Chloé Cooper Jones, Carmen Maria Machado, Dani Shapiro, Bryan Stevenson, Jia Tolentino, and Esmé Weijun Wang. During class, Leigh will provide students with prompts they can use to hone the concept—and build the platform—for their own memoir plus. We’ll also look at examples of memoir+ that editors have acquired in recent months, to understand what’s currently selling in the market. Writers who are planning to pitch their memoirs at the Pitch & Publish Conference will gain clarity and confidence around how to position their projects.



In person at Westport Writers Workshop

25 Sylvan Rd S, Suite J

Westport, CT 06880


Saturday, March 2, 2024 



10 am - 12 pm EST



For more info, call 203.227.3250 or email



Leigh Stein is a writer interested in what the internet is doing to our identities, relationships, and politics. She is the author of five books, including the critically acclaimed satirical novel Self Care (Penguin, 2020), and the memoir Land of Enchantment (Plume, 2016). Her non-fiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker online, Allure, ELLE, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, The Cut, Salon, and Slate. 


Leigh was cofounder and executive director of Out of the Binders/BinderCon, a feminist literary nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the careers of women and gender variant writers. Nearly 2,000 writers attended BinderCon events in NYC and LA, to hear speakers including Lisa Kudrow, Anna Quindlen, Claudia Rankine, Jill Abramson, Elif Batuman, Effie Brown, Leslie Jamison, Suki Kim, and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. Leigh also moderated the private Facebook community of 40,000 writers.

Write a Memoir You Can Actually Sell: An Intro to Memoir Plus - Leigh Stein

SKU: S302w24
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