Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Memoir Master Class: Writing As and For Your Younger Self

Date(s) - 06/28/2021
9:30 am - 12:00 pm


Join us for a brand-new 2.5-hour Master Class specifically tailored to those writing memoir for younger readers!


Directly following her June 28 keynote presentation, Writing Memoir for MG & YA Readers, memoir expert Allison K Williams will lead the brand-new Master Class: Writing As and For Your Younger Self. During this intensive session, she will share a wealth of knowledge and concrete strategies for helping you figure out how best to structure your Middle Grade or YA memoir so that it engages readers, agents, and publishers.

We’ll discuss where to start, and how to decide which events belong in your book. Through short, engaging writing exercises, we’ll practice unearthing the secrets of our own younger years — not our children’s, or how we wish or fear our life had been — and to recreate them vividly on the page. Suitable for those with an idea, a draft, or a terrifying pile of material, this class will help you discover how to tell the right story about the story you need to tell.

We will cover:

♦ How to know if you’re telling the right story for your reading age group.
♦ Starting your memoir with an engaging hook in the very first pages.
♦ Three types of structure you can use for memoirs, essays, and even blog posts — and how to know when to violate the structure you’ve chosen.
♦ How to create tension when readers already know the narrator survived to write a book.
♦ The difference between a dramatic action and a dramatic situation (tip: your story is about what you did and how you changed).
♦ What makes a meaningful event belong in your memoir and what to leave out or save for the next book.
♦ How to recreate sensory details from times and places we can’t quite remember, using exercises that will surprise us with the specific details they evoke.


This virtual event will be presented via Zoom Monday, June 28, 2021, from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM Pacific. Registration is required. Note that registration closes June 25, 2021, or once we reach capacity. 

All confirmed registrants will receive an email containing Zoom-access access information ahead of the class. Several days after the live event, you will also receive access to a replay of the talk.


Bonus Opportunity 

For an additional fee, we are offering registration to participate in one of our small-group Roundtable Memoir Consultation sessions taking place June 29, 2021! Each roundtable participant will receive 10 minutes of on-the-spot feedback from Allison K Williams on a 5-page excerpt from their memoir-in-progress or other kidlit WIP. Space is limited for these consultation sessions, and we expect them to fill up. For full details about this opportunity and to register, click Memoir Consultations with Allison K Williams.


Questions about this event? Email Nonfiction Coordinator Lisa L. Owens:



Photo by Sam Wiker Vertical

Allison K Williams has edited and coached writers to deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin’s, and independent and literary presses. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, her weekly blogs inspire thousands of writers. Allison has written for NPR, CBC, The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, and McSweeney’s, and won on Dragon’s Den. She leads the Rebirth Your Book writing retreats online and in Italy, Costa Rica, and North America.


Williams’s latest book, Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro From Blank Page to Book comes out from Woodhall Press in September 2021.