Rick Skwiot

90-Minute Workshop. Session #1: Thursday, February 16, 3:15 PM – 4:45PM

Structuring the Memoir

This workshop can benefit any writer who is working on or contemplating a memoir. It gives practical advice for seasoned writers and beginners alike that can help them frame, deepen and better organize their material.

Workshop participants will learn how to approach writing a memoir; focus on their most significant material; structure the memoir in scenes; use summary, essay, and imagination in its construction; employ novelistic tools to transmit emotion; reconstruct dialog; and make good use of the two “first persons” in memoir.

Using noted memoirs as examples, the workshop will also cover the definition and elements of memoir, the importance of place, and recognizing your memoir’s theme or “organic core.”

San Miguel Writers Conference Memoir


Rick Skwiot is the author of two memoirs, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Memoir of a Sensual Quest for Spiritual Healing (Antaeus Books) and the critically acclaimed Christmas at Long Lake: A Childhood Memory (originally published as Winter at Long Lake by All Nations Press).

His novels include the Hemingway First Novel Award winner Death in Mexico (previously published as Flesh by Eaton Street Press), the Willa Cather Fiction Prize finalist Sleeping With Pancho Villa (University Press of Colorado), and Key West Story (slated for January 2012 publication by Antaeus).

He has taught creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis and served as the 2004 Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is co-founder and director of the Key West Writers Lab, which mentors serious novelists, memoirists and poets worldwide. A veteran journalist, he also works as a feature writer. A former San Miguel de Allende resident, he now lives in Key West, Florida.

San Miguel Writers Conference Memoir


Critical praise for Christmas at Long Lake: A Childhood Memory

“Skwiot’s vivid descriptions of the physical and emotional landscape…are poignant, entertaining, and instructional.”— Library Journal

“Rick Skwiot works his own magic…As usual, Skwiot’s writing is sure…And his tale has a gritty, blue-collar cachet…This is good reading.”— Kansas City Star



San Miguel Writers Conference Memoir


Critical praise for Sleeping with Pancho Villa

“A thoughtfully layered backdrop of Mexican culture…impressively crafted labyrinthine setting…Snappy and often funny dialogue.”— Publishers Weekly

“Life in a Mexican town…laid out beautifully…A skillfully written portrait of an entire community. Highly recommended.”— Library Journal



San Miguel Writers Conference MemoirSan Miguel Writers Conference Memoir