Writing Biographies

Fall 2010 Writing Workshop: September 10-12, 2010

Writing Biographies: The Art of Making Historical Characters Come Alive

Featuring Dr. Marla Miller, professor of history at U Mass Amherst and author of Betsy Ross and the Making of American (2010).

The Writing Biographies workshop (September 10-12, 2010) will provide participants with insights into biography as a literary genre and the techniques biographers use to breathe life into the raw material left behind by individuals from the past. Using her own experiences in writing the life stories of both an American icon and an obscure 18th century woman in the needle trades, Dr. Marla Miller will guide participants through the intricacies of researching and writing about the personal, family, and professional lives of individuals from our nation’s history, both known and unknown.


The workshop will ­emphasize techniques for using online archives and informational databases, as well as hands-on research in libraries and historical societies. The workshop will help participants ask and answer the questions: What information is out there? How do I find it? and Once I have it, what do I do with it? Participants will also learn strategies specific to writing biographies: outlining a chronology, framing the story, developing a character, positioning a biography within major historical events, filling in the historical gaps, and knowing when you are “perhapsing” too much.

A copy of the Writing Biographies workshop flyer is available for download (first attachment below).

For more information and workshop registration materials please download the Workshop Details and Registration Materials (second attachment below).

For a brief interview with Dr. Miller about the art of writing biographies, go to the July 2010 Writers' Retreat Newsletter.


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Lynne Anderson,
Jul 24, 2010, 5:43 PM
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Lynne Anderson,
Jul 24, 2010, 5:43 PM
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