celebrating Black women writers

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Your Memory Is Fiction: A Truth Telling Workshop for Black women writers | 4-Week Workshop

Amuna Wagner Saturdays, March 9-30
10a-12p ET
7a-9a PT
9a-11a CT
4 class sessions

By signing up for a class, you agree to our refund policy and code of conduct here.

As a Black woman writer, you carry within you a living archive. Your Memory Is Fiction: A Truth Telling Workshop for Black Women Writers aims to help you breathe words into it.

This workshop explores the wondrousness, the mystery, the banality, and the brutality of memory. We ask ‘how do things happen?’, to investigate remembering as a literary, communal, and liberatory act. Immersing ourselves into storytelling and language, we will let authors like Safia Elhillo, Akwaeke Emezi, and Arundhati Roy guide us on our quest to find out how we remember and why we remember.

In four sessions traversing the past and the present, we will approach memory as emotion, myth as truth, and spiritual companionship as sanity. Each week, we invite you to engage with a reading before we convene online for collective, thematic free writes and discussions. We will explore nostalgia, linearity vs. memory as patchwork, and auto-fiction as an accessible genre for Black writers and Black history making.

Whether you write prose or poetry, we'll investigate the creative process of accessing our memories and writing them into a narrative. While we shape these memories into fiction, we'll extract personal and collective truths that may resonate wholeheartedly, save us, and free us. You can bring a project in need of expansion, and/or a blank page, to let memories guide you into a story.

This workshop is as much future oriented as it investigates the past and the present.

All class meetings will be held via Zoom. The link to join your Zoom classroom will be provided on the morning of your class. Please check spam folders if you do not receive an email confirmation upon registration. For more information on how to download or use Zoom, please click here.

Meet Your Instructor:
Amuna Wagner

Amuna Wagner is a German-Sudanese writer, journalist, and educator. She studied International Relations and Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, with a special interest in decolonising processes and the politics of gender. In her work, Amuna explores the many ways through which we heal ourselves and others: ancestry, identity, pleasure activism, feminist spiritualities, and creative knowledge production. Amuna regularly facilitates creative writing workshops. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Literary Writing at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne where she is working on her first novel. She co-founded and edits Kandaka, a platform that imagines feminist futures at the intersection of art and activism. Amuna co-created a one year programme in Feminist Studies that ran at the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2021/2022. She facilitated the three-month creative writing and close-reading course "Reading Feminism/Writing To Live" which published "High Priestess in Low Tides: A Zine From Cairo to the World", edited by herself and Mariam Diefallah. Amuna was awarded the Tejumola Olaniyan Fellowship at The Africa Institute in Sharjah (2023) and selected as Writer in Residence at the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) in Ghana (2021). Her work has been published on Project Myopia, Africa Is a Country, The Pan African Music Magazine, Amaka Studio, Egyptian Streets, Skin Deep, Meeting of Minds, shado mag, Rosa Mag, sweetthangzine as well as part of auftakt festival (2023)and Fringe of Colour (2021). She lives between Cologne, Germany and Cairo, Egypt.

Course Takeaways

  • Understanding auto-fiction as a liberatory genre for Black women's prose and poetry
  • Tools and exercises for crafting an auto-fictional narrative
  • Understanding the subjectivity of truth in memory and storytelling
  • Combining memory and writing into a practise for mapping out the futures you want to create
  • Collective narrative crafting as part of a community of writers; feedback and discussion of ideas

Course Expectations

  • Participants are expected to commit to weekly readings. We will complete in-class writing prompts that are inspired by these readings, and share our free writes as a base for our discussion
  • You are invited to give feedback and collectively develop each other's story ideas
  • You are expected to participate actively in the discussion even if you don't feel comfortable sharing your own free writes
  • There will be homework as a suggestion on how to move forward in your own time; the homework is not mandatory

Course Skeleton

  • Week 1:Accessing memory through emotion; Writing prompt: How to define a core memory to work with
  • Week Two: Playing with the poetics of patchwork; Writing prompt: How to create a memory map that expands your narrative
  • Week Three: We have been here before; Writing prompt: Ekphrastic writing from your personal archive
  • Week Four: Ghosts and other spiritual companions; Writing prompt: How to conjure a writing companion to hold you through your writing process