Writing About Childhood // Webinar

Making Your Experiences Compelling to Adult Readers

Writing About Childhood // Webinar

The Bildungsroman, or “formation novel,” is a term most often associated with novels where a male protagonist comes of age from early childhood to young adulthood.

Novels like A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, for example, or Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. But in the late 20th and early 21st century, the Bildungsroman has also enjoyed a flourishing in creative nonfiction. Many contemporary memoirists plumb the social and cultural forces that shaped their early lives and intrinsic aspects of their identities, such as race, social class, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Even memoirs that dwell predominantly on adulthood often invite the reader to visit vivid moments in the author’s past to better understand how they became who they are.

In this webinar, we’ll read closely several examples of early and formative memories from contemporary nonfiction and discuss specific literary strategies memoirists use to write childhood and adolescence with an adult reading audience in mind. We’ll also consider some challenges of capturing childhood credibly on the page, given that it happened such a long time ago. Those who participate in this webinar will leave with an extended reading list along with prompts for further writing.

In this webinar, you will:

  • ENGAGE in close reading of several illustrative nonfiction Bildungsroman examples;
  • LEARN practical strategies for crafting vivid childhood and adolescent memories for an adult reading audience;
  • LEAVE with a list of additional readings for emulation and specific prompts to access and document your own early and formative memories.

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for beginning to intermediate writers of creative nonfiction or for poets and fiction writers at any stage of their careers who are now interested in exploring the possibilities of self-referential prose.


Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

2 pm - 3:15 pm ET

Advance registration required.
Space is limited.

$15 if registered after 11/22/2020
$25 if registered after 11/22/2020

Registration will close 24 hours before the event.

A recording of the webinar will be sent out to all registrants three business days after the event.

PLEASE NOTE: It may take a little while for us to process your order and send you the link to the webinar. If you haven't received the link by the morning of December 2, please email us at information@creativenonfiction.org.


About the instructor: Julie Marie Wade earned a master of arts degree in English at Western Washington University in 2003, a master of fine arts degree in poetry at the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, and a PhD in interdisciplinary humanities at the University of Louisville in 2012. She is the author of twelve collections of poetry and creative nonfiction, including Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures, Small Fires: Essays, Postage Due: Poems & Prose Poems, When I Was Straight, Catechism: A Love Story, SIX, Same-Sexy Marriage: A Novella in Poems, P*R*I*D*E, and Just an Ordinary Woman Breathing. Her collaborative volumes include The Unrhymables: Collaborations in Prose, coauthored with Denise Duhamel, and the forthcoming collection Telephone: Essays in Two Voices, coauthored with Brenda Miller. A winner of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir, Wade teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami.


Questions? Please call us at 412-404-2975 or email the director of education, Sharla Yates, at yates@creativenonfiction.org.