Students in this workshop will begin to create a personal memoir in the context of its own time and place. Guided by exercises and examples from published work, each three-hour session will offer time for both writing and oral critique.
Best known for How I Became Hettie Jones, her memoir of the “beat scene” of the fifties and sixties, Hettie Jones is the author of 23 books for children and adults, including the award-winning Big Star Fallin’ Mama (Five Women in Black Music) and Drive, the first of her three poetry collections, which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber Award. In addition to her own work, Jones has also written No Woman No Cry for Rita Marley, Grace the Table for the chef Alexander Smalls, and co-authored From Midnight to Dawn, the Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad. Her short fiction has appeared in various literary journals such as Ploughshares and Fence, and she has published reviews, articles, and stories in The Washington Post and The Village Voice among others.
Since 1979 Jones has taught writing at various universities, and is now on the faculties of the New School’s Graduate Writing Program and the 92nd St. Y Poetry Center. During the Spring semester of 2014 she lectured as the Durst Distinguished Professor at the State University in Purchase, New York. Jones is the former Chair of the PEN Prison Writing Committee, and from 1989-2002 ran a writing workshop at the New York State Correctional Facility for Women at Bedford Hills, from which she published a nationally distributed collection, Aliens At The Border. From 1994-1996 she was a member of the Literature Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts, subsequently served two terms on the Board of Directors of Cave Canem, and currently serves on PEN’s Advisory Council. Jones was a NYFA Fellow in Nonfiction Literature in 2009, and a 2013-14 recipient of a Civic Engagement Grant from the New School for her work with Manhattan’s Lower East Side Girls Club, which she is currently continuing with a grant from Poets & Writers. Hettie Jones has lived in Manhattan’s East Village for fifty years. Love H, a selection from her 40-year correspondence with the sculptor Helene Dorn, will appear in 2016 from Duke University Press. She is presently completing that book as well as Full Tilt, new and selected poems, and In Care of Worth Auto Parts, a collection of linked short fiction.
Photo Credit: Colleen MacKay