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Crafting Stories from Your Family's History

Perhaps you’ve come across a photo or a family heirloom that intrigues you. Maybe you’ve found your immigrant grandparents’ citizenship papers. Or perhaps you can’t stop thinking about the last time you saw Cousin Ellen at Aunt Helen’s funeral and the conversation did not go well. Maybe that story Uncle Irving told you about your great-grandparents still commands your attention. Or that cookbook your mother inherited that became the basis of holiday meals. And then there’s that tidbit you found in the metrical records that says your kosher-butcher great-grandfather was a trustee of the Baron Hirsch School, which would explain why Grandma was so educated.

Course Outline

Each week offers a new set of prompts provided by the instructor.

Each session has a set aside quiet time to write in the Zoom session.

Responses may follow about what resonates.

Skills you will learn

  • A writer is someone who writes
  • Everyone has a strong, unique voice
  • Everyone is born with creative genius
  • Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level
  • The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem

YOU WILL develop your unique writer's voice using these strategies.

  • Write in class to specific instructor-provided prompts
  • Share your in-class writing within the class
  • Receive responses about what resontates in your writing including what is memorable and what sticks. Note there is no critique


Writing the Past workshops offers writers of all genres and all levels the opportunity to bring the family stories they’ve heard and details from ancestral paper trails onto the page. Using the Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) method, we’ll meet online via Zoom for two hours using time-based prompts as inspiration. All material is considered fiction. Each participant is invited to read their work aloud; all work receives responses about what resonates, what is memorable or sticks. There is no critique. AWA Certified Facilitator Barbara Krasner provides the prompts.


Class meets for two hours in four consecutive Sunday sessions via Zoom, 11 am - 1 pm ET. Enrollment will be limited to ten participants, who will write in real-time during these sessions, because there’s tremendous energy and power in writing together. Each participant is expected to use a computer (not cell phone) to access Zoom.


Tuition is $200 for 4 weeks.

Contact Information

For any questions, email the instructor at


Barbara Krasner

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