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In-Depth Speculative Memoir Workshop

Naomi Kimbell

THE WRITERS WORKSHOP - SPECULATIVE MEMOIR: An in-depth workshop for pieces in progress by Naomi Anna Kimbell

START DATE: This class is full. If you'd like to be put on a waiting list, please email us: classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com.


DURATION:  9 weeks

LOCATION:  Private Website

FEEDBACK:  Instructor feedback and critique, peer feedback, group workshopping

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Speculative memoir pushes the boundaries between the observable world and the inner sphere of the psyche. Often employing techniques from other genres, speculative memoir is a way to engage in personal storytelling when the story defies expression using traditional narrative. It is a subgenre of creative nonfiction, but worthy of its own workshop.

The Writers Workshop is for writers who want to focus on speculative memoir pieces in progress. Course participants should come with a draft of their work they are ready to share for detailed feedback and revision suggestions. Rough drafts/incomplete drafts are fine. Additionally, participants will be asked to provide supportive and challenging feedback to other workshop participants with the goals of helping one another develop insight and build skills. You can submit excerpts from long pieces, a few short pieces, or even a series of flash memoir, totaling no more than 5000 words. Participants will submit two times, so you could have up to 10,000 words read and critiqued by the end of the workshop. In addition to our weekly review and critique sessions, I’ll provide readings on craft, examples of speculative memoir for review and discussion, and writing prompts designed to feed your imagination and dream of new possibilities for your work.

I’ve taken online courses before, and they’ve always disappointed. This one, however, on speculative memoir was amazing. Naomi has deep knowledge of the speculative memoir genre and of writing in general. She is one who can “do and teach.” I found her open to participants’ questions and learning needs and helpful in recommending additional reading or other material that would benefit further exploration. Her discussion questions and assignments were relevant, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. Generous with her time and her feedback, she provided a close reading of our work, and I plan to use her comments to improve the drafts I’m working on. She gave me new knowledge and much to think about, and I would definitely take another class from her when time and opportunity permit. ~ Joanne Glenn (previous WOW class participant)

Naomi Kimbell was an incredible instructor. She was flexible and adapted to the needs of the class and she genuinely explored the conversation of “what is speculative memoir” with curiosity and integrity. Her intelligence and warmth made for a safe and stimulating environment. I wouldn’t hesitate to take a course with her again! ~ Laraine Herring (previous WOW class participant)

Naomi offers the best of both worlds—she is a talented writer AND a talented teacher, and she is truly committed to helping her students grow. Her choice of reading materials was perfect, an inspirational mix of current pointers and timeless pieces that I have added to my resource book and will referring to frequently. Her writing prompts were creative and thought-provoking and I look forward to tapping into them again and again for fresh material. Her comments on my work were poignant, unusually thoughtful, and her suggestions for improving my work were especially helpful and will extend beyond the two essays I submitted in this workshop. I have taken several online classes before now, from other wonderful teachers, but Naomi ranks among the very best. Her experience, wisdom, and compassion make her a teacher of the first order, and I could not be happier with my experience. She has inspired me in so many ways, and as we speak, I’m already putting her lessons into practice. Thank you, Naomi, and thank you WOW! – Ashley Memory

I’ve taken several classes with Naomi, and I come away each time feeling like a better writer ... and a better reader. Naomi is a knowledgeable instructor and skilled writer who deeply understands CNF and leads by example. What most impresses me, besides her writing that includes masterful CNF essays, is Naomi’s thoughtful approach to reading which informs her feedback as well as the discussions she leads in class. Naomi was invested in my workshop submissions, providing observations and suggestions that energized me and helped me see new possibilities. Plus, Naomi is so warm and welcoming, and creates a safe, supportive environment. I highly recommend her classes! – Ann Kathryn Kelly (previous WOW class participant)

Naomi’s class is one of the most inspiring classes I’ve ever taken! I’ve never been a flowery writer, and often focused more on meaning, rather than sentence structure and word choice. Writing a lyric essay is something I’ve always dreamed of, but I didn’t really understand the concept until I took her class, “Music, Truth, and the Towns Inside Us: A Cross-Genre Exploratory Workshop.” It changed my life! I now understand how to edit sentences and words down to syllables and consonants to make my prose sing. She created a vibrant learning atmosphere, full of rooms, prompts, videos, and discussion. I usually like to write in silence, but our first assignment was writing to music she selected. The words that flowed from my pen amazed me, and that was due to Naomi’s instruction and safe learning environment. My classmates’ work was impressive, and we had so much fun providing feedback on each other’s essays, poems, fiction, and free-writes. Naomi’s insight into the class book, The Triggering Town, along with her thought-provoking discussion and encouraging feedback made this class exceptional. I’d love to take every class she offers. Her teaching style is compassionate and knowledgeable, and her suggestions for use of language are detailed and eye opening. Taking her class helped me look at the world with wonder. In the past my writing has been described as flat and reporterly. Well, never again. Now I want to go back and revise all my essays for sound. I know Naomi’s class has made me a better writer, and I can’t thank her enough! ~ Angela M. (previous WOW class participant)

Many thanks to Naomi Kimbell for dreaming up the “Music, Truth, and the Towns Inside Us” class I just took. I loved it. I’d read Richard Hugo’s Triggering Town years ago, but I must confess I didn’t completely understand the nuances of all that he was saying. It was a pleasure to be invited to participate in a thoughtful discussion. Naomi not only knows how to write, but also how to guide. I felt like she provided a safe space to experiment and submit my work for review and comments. She was prepared and available throughout the course. I would absolutely take more classes with Naomi. ~ Victoria Melekian (previous WOW class participant)


WEEK 1: The Writing Community

Although writing itself is a solitary endeavor, having a community of support is essential. In this first week, we’ll get to know one another, discuss our practice as writers, what we bring to the table, and what we hope to achieve over the next nine weeks. Additionally, I’ll assign submission dates for your in-progress pieces: Two students will submit their work in week one for discussion and review by their peers in week two. Two more students will submit the following week, etc. Detailed instructions for submission and feedback will be provided, and volunteers for these first two slots will be applauded for going first.

WEEK 2 - 9: Workshop

Week 2 begins our writing workshops in which the first two submissions (5000 words max per author) will be reviewed and critiqued by the instructor and the class in a supportive but challenging manner. Feedback in this class is primarily developmental, as opposed to line or copy editing, and is meant to help writers develop insight into their work, refine their voice, and reach beyond perceived limits. These goals are lofty but necessary if a writer wants to make leaps in their craft.

Subsequent weeks will maintain the same format, differing in week five, during which the second round of submissions will begin, and participants will either submit new pieces for review (5000 words max per author), or submit their edited pieces to receive feedback on revisions.

Additional weekly materials will consist of a mixture of readings, discussion questions, and writing prompts to fuel lively interactions through which we’ll develop a close-knit group of writers cheering one another on. Writing is akin to playing the long game. There’s no shortcut to getting better, and we need a community who will support and challenge us along the way.

Materials needed: All materials provided.

How the class will be conducted: Students will be invited to a private online classroom using Google Classroom. All course materials and discussion will be posted to this platform. The class is asynchronous so you can access it at any time according to your schedule. There are no real-time discussions. Students will need a computer with an internet connection and will have access to the class the Sunday before class begins and for one week after the class concludes.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Naomi Kimbell writes, teaches, edits, and makes films, and you can find her writing in The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Crazyhorse, and other places. Her films are available on YouTube. Naomi earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana in 2008, and she offers professional developmental editing for writers of all skill levels. She teaches The Writers Workshops exclusively for WOW! Women on Writing. Naomi is currently working on a novel that explores the blurred boundaries between life and death when an aging parent begins their decline. She lives in Western Montana, and spends her free time with her husband, a garden, a bird, and a box of night crawlers.

COST:  $180, which includes nine weeks of interaction, readings, discussion, and review/critique workshops. Participants will receive detailed developmental critiques and revision suggestions from class participants in addition to developmental feedback from the instructor on each submission.

BUY NOW: The Writers Workshop - Speculative Memoir: An in-depth workshop for pieces in progress by Naomi Anna Kimbell (9 weeks, starting 4/26/2021) Limit: 8 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is currently closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 4/26/2021


Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.


Additional Testimonials for Naomi Kimbell:

I was initially drawn to work with Naomi Kimbell after reading her honest, innovative writing. Naomi brings an incredible depth of living with her whole heart and mind to her work and teaching. Her passion, curiosity and extensive knowledge of the craft of writing is inspiring. In her writing course she shared diverse and stimulating prompts that included still photographs, different forms, and the writing of authors which opened new spaces inside me and helped deepen the texture and dimension of my poetry. Naomi has a gift for encouraging people to express their unique voice. She listens and communicates with keen intelligence and deep compassion. I appreciate the way she weaves together her sense of humor, new perspectives, great questions and her practical and diligent work ethic. Naomi is an engaging and motivating teacher. ~ Youpa Stein

Naomi seeks a straightforwardness that does not embellish, but, rather, gets to essences—essential ideas, the essence of a story, the deep impulses that drive us to act as we do...she’s a writer of exceptional talent—one of the few who endeavor to compose personal stories as literary works...she finds the unusual within the commonplace, the surprising within the predictable. ~ Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean

Naomi Kimbell chooses her words like a poet. She reads Richard Hugo and Robert Wrigley, and Homer. Like these authors, Naomi is a careful, descriptive, and smart writer. Because Naomi is a true scholar, she knows things ... She has an ear for beauty, and BS—like no one else I’ve ever met. ~ Karin Schalm, author of Poems of Peace in these Warring Times

Naomi Kimbell knows the boundaries of nonfiction, and lucky for us she knows the perfect ways to challenge them. Whether she’s writing about family dynamics or mental illness, Naomi does more than tell a story—she engages the reader in all of her essays as form and content interact. With a fresh and invigorating writing style, her words bring you into each essay and, believe me, once inside you’ll never want to leave. ~ Chelsey Clammer, author of BodyHome and Circadian


Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:

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