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Speculative Memoir: Making Space for the Imagined and Unexplained

July 19, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event


Are you speculative-memoir-curious? Learn how speculative elements can enhance your work and welcome your imagination back home!

Speculative memoir is finding its rightful place in the world of creative nonfiction. It is possible to bring in speculative elements without breaking the contract with the reader for “accuracy” in memoir. Books like Carmen Maria Machado’s Into the Dream House, Ariel Gore’s We Were Witches, Anna Joy Springer’s The Vicious Red Relic, Love, and Monster Portraits by Sofia Samatar have broken new ground, showing a wide range of storytelling approaches unbound by the genre’s traditional restraints. Aligning the imaginative realms with the external events of life is a natural connection for storytellers.

Far from being untruths, speculative elements can bring a reader deeper into the emotional and psychological realities of the memoirist’s psyche. It’s also worth pondering: who gets to decide what is “real” and what is “imagined”? Whose worldviews and types of stories have been minimized and excluded because they didn’t fit the dominant culture’s concepts of “real”?

This webinar offers insight into the vast potential of speculative memoir and provides tools for you to bring speculative elements into your own writing.

In this webinar, you will:

  • EXAMINE how memoir always engages with the speculative, even without apparent ghosts or magical elements.
  • CONSIDER various definitions of speculative memoir.
  • UNDERSTAND, through a short case study of the presenter’s speculative memoir, how and why the form was selected for her story.
  • LEARN how, when, and why to use speculative elements in your own memoir. 

This webinar is ideal for:
Memoirists at all levels interested in alternative ways of storytelling, and memoirists who have second-guessed their intuitive way of sharing their stories and viewing the world. Also, anyone who loves ghosts!

Closed captioning is available. ✔
All registrants receive the recording. ✔


LARAINE HERRING is a writer, professor, and grief therapist. Her latest book is A Constellation of Ghosts: A Speculative Memoir with Ravens. Other books include Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice; The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice; On Being Stuck: Tapping into the Creative Power of Writer’s Block; and Lost Fathers: How Women Can Heal From Adolescent Father Loss. She is also the author and illustrator of The Grief Forest: a book we don’t talk about. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, The Manifest-Station, K’in, Tiferet, and The Arizona Republic. She won the Barbara Deming Award for Women for her fiction, and her nonfiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s currently editing an anthology of speculative nonfiction for Pact Press entitled Becoming Real: Women Reclaim the Power of the Imagined through Speculative Nonfiction.

Questions? Please email


July 19, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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Laraine Herring
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