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Icelandic Roots Fall Writing Seminars



Earlier this year, Icelandic Roots members were asked during an online writing seminar what topic they would like to see covered in future webinars. “Memoir writing” was the most popular answer.


Icelandic Roots has listened.


A three-part series designed for members who are interested in just this topic will begin in late September.


Memoir writing exploded in popularity in the early 2000s as people realized the importance of recording family and community stories. So often, our family stories go unrecorded and then are lost to future generations.


Memoirs are considered a subset of biographies, but there are differences between them. Biographies cover the period from birth to the current day, whereas memoirs cover a certain time or events in the author’s life. Summers with Amma, for example.

Best classified as creative nonfiction, memoirs have a narrative arc like fiction. Biographies, by contrast, are usually chronological and more linear in structure.


The sessions being offered free to Icelandic Roots members will begin September 28, with a repeat of the “What If “webinar previously offered in March. Feedback was positive after the first session and so we’re offering it again. This session will be offered in the evening with the hope that members who are unavailable during the day will be able to participate.


The idea behind many stories, whether fiction or nonfiction, can be found in the question, “What if?” What if, for example, a young city boy spent summers with his Icelandic grandmother on the farm? The answer to that question could become a memoir titled “Summers with Amma.”


“What If?”, presented by team leader Sharron Arksey, takes a look at how to get started writing, how to persevere in the task and what to do if you face the dreaded writer’s block. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers following the presentation.


Since memoirs are nonfiction, it is important that authors spend the necessary time in research to ensure their accuracy. The Icelandic Roots database is a valuable resource for anyone wanting to study their Icelandic heritage and know that they are getting their facts straight.


Sunna Furstenau will host the second session during the regular Tuesday Tips noon-hour session on October 11. Becoming an Icelandic Roots Sleuth will provide information on how to use the Icelandic Roots databases to research your family details and get the information you need for writing your memoir.


And finally, we will offer “So You Want to Write a Memoir” on November 16 in the evening.


Members of the Icelandic Roots writers’ group will offer suggestions, tips and how-tos specifically related to memoir writing. As always, there will be time at the end of the presentation for questions and answers.


Mark your calendars and we’ll keep you updated as we get closer to each event.



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