Memoir Writing Workshops:

"Writing About Illness"

The Illness Memoir:

An Annotated List


"Seven Types of Memoir"


"Writing the Memoir"

Thomas Larson has given two-hour, all-day, and weeklong workshops at bookstores, writing centers, libraries, writers' guilds, private groups, and universities for beginning and advanced memoirists throughout the United States.

From 2007 to 2017, venues include:

Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference (Homer, AK)

Santa Fe Summer Workshop (Santa Fe, NM)

Hudson Valley Writers' Center (Sleepy Hollow, NY)

MFA Low-Residency Program (Ashland, OH)

The Writers' Center (Bethesda, MD)

The Writers' Workshoppe (Port Townsend, WA)

Warwick’s Bookstore (La Jolla, CA)

Ghost Ranch (Santa Fe, NM)

Ghost Ranch Fall Writing Festival (Abiquiu, NM)

St. Louis Writer’s Guild

Lancaster (PA) Literary Guild

Writers’ Center of Indiana (Indianapolis, IN)

Mobile Writers Guild (Mobile, AL)

Bookpeople (Austin, TX)

Houston (TX) Public Library

Palm Springs (CA) Public Library

Book Passage (Corte Madera, CA)

Margaret Mitchell House (Atlanta, GA)

OLLI Memoir Writers (Auburn, AL)

Clemente Program (Port Hadlock, WA)

Wordstock (Portland, OR)

Kansas City (MO) Public Library

Columbia (MO) Public Library

The Loft (Minneapolis, MN)

Worthington Library (Columbus, OH)


Price: email me

Writing Workshops
Writing About Illness Print E-mail
Writing Workshops

Multimedia Lecture & Illness Writing Workshop

Here's a video introducing Sanctuary's "Multimedia Lecture" and my "Writing about Illness" workshop for patients and medical professionals on heart disease.

Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Among the most necessary journeys these days for Americans is to heal from, or confront, the ravages of an illness—whether yours, someone you love, or someone who's your patient.

To heal, more and more people are turning to writing about illness in book, article, essay, and journal. Our literature has grown abundant with stories about cancer, AIDS, heart disease, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, PTSD, even soul sickness. Wounds as much physical as psychological. The acute and the chronic. The slow-developing, the long-lasting, the permanent. Treatments involving drugs, therapy, lifestyle changes, diet.

One recent study, from New Zealand, reports that those who write about the feelings and meaning of their condition heal faster than those who don’t write.

Narrative Medicine is a new field of study. It is being offered to medical professionals in hospitals, med schools, and universities. It aims to develop the craft of writing with those who toil in medicine and to express the personal joys and frustrations of tending to a patient's health and to one's own well-being.

With the January 2014 publication of my book, The Sanctuary of Illness: A Memoir of Heart Disease (Hudson Whitman Press), I’m offering a new workshop based on the story of my three heart attacks. The workshop is open to all, from beginner to professional, writers, patients, and people in the medical field.

The audience for the workshop is physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health and public health professionals, chaplains, writers, academics, scholars, patients, and all those interested in the intersection of narrative, medicine, and healing.

Writing the Memoir: Day-Long & Extended Workshops Print E-mail
Writing Workshops

Thomas Larson, renowned writer and memoir facilitator, is available for daylong, weekend, and weeklong workshops. He has taught beginning to advanced classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN, at Ghost Ranch in Santa Fe and Abiquiu, NM, and at Writing Centers in Bethesda, MD, and Indianapolis, IN. Currently, he teaches in the Low-Residency MFA program at Ashland University, Ashland, OH. He works one-on-one with writers, critiquing and editing manuscripts. The announcement below describes his basic workshop and can be used for advertising and promotion.

Join Thomas Larson, author of The Memoir and the Memoirist, for a workshop in memoir writing. We beging by discussing the significant differecnes between traditional autobiography and contemporary memoir. Next, we explore memoir's demanding questions: Where do I begin? What is my focus? How do I discover the emotional truth of my story? How do I write about the living? With numerous writing prompts, we look at the mainstays of the form: truth-telling and self-disclosure; sudden versus long-ago memoir; good and bad therapeutic writing; and the importance of metaphor and mything in the personal life.


An extended workshop (weekend or weeklong) begins with the following description.

Many of us have lived fascinating lives whether inwardly or outwardly, during childhood long ago or as adults in the last decade. But when it comes to writing a memoir, where do we begin? The day of our birth? The day we left home? The beginning or end of a relationship? Memoir is most successful when it is not the “story of a life,” but a focused part of that life—a dozen summers spent working on a grandfather’s farm; a long relationship with a dying relative; the first year of law school.

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