UConn Reads: Create Your Own Memoir

Spring Break offers students so many wonderful possibilities – a quick vacation, a service-learning project, time at home with family and friends, or, this year, the opportunity to create a memoir.

With the support of the President’s Office, UConn Reads is sponsoring “Write/Draw/Render Your Life,” a student award for creative memoir. Inspired by the remarkable artistry and insight of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis, students are invited to create a memoir in any of several formats: essay or short story, short film or animation, or graphic novel.

Students shouldn’t measure their experiences against Satrapi’s when thinking about writing a memoir. While some of our students have experienced hardships like war, revolution, hunger, or violence, others may say “I grew up in a sleepy Connecticut town, what do I have to write about?” In fact, students can take a cue from Satrapi – early in Persepolis, the child Marji participates in a bullying incident, and Satrapi uses this small, rather ordinary experience to reveal the nature of group violence and intolerance in a way that connects to the larger politics and culture of the time.

It may also be worth reflecting on Satrapi’s approach to the creative memoir form. In a recent interview about Persepolis, Satrapi noted, “It’s based on my own experiences, but then … you have to make a story.” This is an opportunity to think about how narratives and images can be structured to create and enhance meaning.

More information about the award and the submission process is available on the UConn Reads website. Submissions are due Monday, March 24.

So students, whether you’re packing for Cancun, a Habitat for Humanity Project, or home, be sure to take along your pencils and a notebook. We’ll all look forward to seeing what you create over Spring Break!