Jervey Tervalon and Ginger Swanson

Jervey Tervalon and Ginger Swanson

Jervey Tervalon & Ginger Swanson

Creative Nonfiction and Memoir

Creative nonfiction combines techniques of fiction and nonfiction

Monday - Friday
1:00-3:30 PM
Vista II

Creative nonfiction combines techniques of fiction and nonfiction.  The successful creative nonfiction writer strives to incorporate what is important to him or her and then transforms those passions into a compelling narrative. 

Course Description

This workshop will help you identify and solidify your structure and foundation, and it will help you clarify your past and present voices. It will provide you with action steps to take as you begin or continue your creative nonfiction or memoir-writing project.

 Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting close to the most meaningful elements of your story—the parts that may be difficult to reveal. Ginger and Jervey help you delve beneath the surface to the gold in your story—drama and passion.

We will “whiteboard” your ideas and find what’s most important—that kernel from which your story really begins. We’ll discover the emotional energy and dramatic pace that will keep your voice active and alive and your story vibrant and truthful. And, we’ll have fun.

 Message to Students:

 Just place your fingers on the keyboard or your pen on the page and write! 


Jervey Tervalon is a “professional teller and gatherer of stories” and “literary networker” by the LA Times,“award-winning poet, screenwriter, and dramatist” by Simon and Schuster, and “literary sage, cultural recorder, working class hero, father” by a community blogger, Jervey Tervalon was born in New Orleans and raised in Los Angeles.

He received his MFA in creative writing from UC Irvine and was a Disney Screen-Writing fellow and a Shanghai Writers Association fellow. He is the executive director of Literature for Life/Locavore Lit.LA, a literary magazine and educational advocacy organization. He is cofounder and literary director of Pasadena LitFest and teaches fiction writing at the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His latest novel is Monster’s Chef, published by Amistad/HarperCollins.

In His Own Words

Every good thing in my life comes from my writing and the habit of reading obsessively. I’ve had the good fortune to be paid to write about the black folks I grew up [with], about life in Santa Barbara, and Pasadena and now a memoir about race, children, and long distance courting – from Pasadena to Shanghai.  

Ginger Swanson authored The Other Woman: Film and Feminism and is currently in the dissertation to book adaptation process. Ginger worked for Phoenix Pictures in Story Editing. She wrote, directed and produced A Room for Sara (Official Selection Santa Barbara International Film Festival). She is currently working on a long-term writing and film project entitled The Art of Writing: Craft and Community. Ginger is also the founder in Santa Barbara where she leads Writing, and Body, Soul and Dream Tending Retreats. 

 Ginger holds a PhD and MA in Depth Psychology, a BA in Film and Media Studies, and degrees in Writing and Directing, and Performance Arts. Ginger holds an adjunct faculty position at Pacifica Graduate Institute and has a private psychotherapy practice in Santa Barbara, California. 

 In Her Own Words

Writing is an archaeological endeavor and an alchemical process. Memoir and Creative nonfiction are about getting beneath the surface to what lies below and transforming that matter into dramatic and compelling stories. I like to help writers do that in a playful way. It’s challenging and fun. 

 Writing Tip I Live By

 Dig deep, reveal the ugly, and love it.