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Date & Time: Friday, October 27, 2023 | 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
Location: Pat Conroy Literary Center | 601 BLADEN ST BEAUFORT, SC 29902 (limited to 20 attendees)
Virtual: None
Cost: $45
Registration: Eventbrite

I believe my success as a writer, a mother, and a human being lies in the wisdom of feeling. Feeling – and by that I mean emotional responsiveness and intuitive clarity – is the source of creativity, and it can also be a vital lifestyle. Families are cauldrons of deep feelings which is why writers are so often drawn to write about family.

Willa Cather once wrote that passion is every artist’s secret. Like heroism, it is inimitable. It simply can’t be imitated in a cheap way. As writers, we can write as if we are having a frank, intimate conversation with each other. We can tell each other what we feel and listen to what we each have to say even when we disagree. This kind of empathy and intimacy in our writing can have a protective power. As Toni Morrison says in her novel, Beloved, it’s important “not to remember the past with guilt, shame, or regret, but to learn from it and move on.” In that way we honor it.

During this workshop, I’ll talk about my literary memoir about my father, Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers. I’ll also talk about the memoir I wrote entitled Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure. I’ll explain that talking about “process” is antithetical to how I think and work, or play. My “process” involves remembering as much of what I see and hear as I can and trying to describe it; for me the process of writing means getting lost in watching something or someone, rarely knowing what will happen next, and then writing about it. This way of writing often feels like a kind of meditation.

I know that some writers want to talk about how to write a poem or a memoir. They might teach rules, such as “the ten steps to writing a good poem or memoir.” But I want writing to be what it is – dangerous and yet perfectly safe. A writer is a person open to a vast number of things, including being open to themselves, which means they might touch on something scary, hilarious, sad, or true. A memoir isn’t a “how to.” It’s making and shaping. As Lao Tsu, Chinese, c. 600 BC, wrote: “The way to do is to be.”

I hope to conclude our workshop with a short playful exercise in which we will have 10 minutes to write responses to a list of questions I will read. If time permits, some may choose to read what they wrote. Or we might want to share what keeps us from writing the words we have in our hearts and perhaps learn ways to free ourselves.

This is an in-person writers workshop, held at the Pat Conroy Literary Center as part of the annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival. Limited to 20 participants; $45/person.

About our instructor:

Freya Manfred

Freya Manfred is a poet, memoirist, and teacher whose primary subjects are nature and human relationships. She is the author of ten books of poetry, including Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, Speak, Mother and Loon in Late November Water, which The Minneapolis Star and Tribune praised for her ability to “confronts aging while celebrating poetry as an accessible and practical tool for living.” Her poems have appeared in more than 100 reviews and magazines. Freya has received a Harvard/Radcliffe Fellow In Poetry Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, a Minnesota Poetry Award. She has been a Resident Fellow at Yaddo, The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and The MacDowell Colony.

On Freya’s first memoir, Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers, Philip Roth wrote, “This rare book about the intimacy between a father and his daughter is notable for its affection, sensitivity, generosity, and gratitude.” Her second memoir, Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure, was released in 2015. She lives in Stillwater with her husband, screenwriter Thomas Pope. Their twin sons, Rowan and Bly Pope, are acclaimed visual artists who have illustrated many of her books of poetry.


Photos as well as  short bios of all festival presenters are on the Presenter Page.
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