Writing Biography
Special Workshop with James Dempsey

Saturday, October 3, 2020

3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

This program is free and open to the public. No registration required. 

Leominster Public Library, 30 West Street, Leominster, Massachusetts

PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO COVID-19, THIS PROGRAM WILL BE ONLINE.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE THE LINK TO THE WORKSHOP: CLICK THIS LINK TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP.

“Almost any biographer, if he respects facts, can give us much more than another fact to add to our collection. He can give us the creative fact; the fertile fact; the fact that suggests and engenders.” Virginia Woolf

“There is properly no history; only biography,” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Biography is a singular form of writing, one that requires an uncommon blend of curiosity, persistence, and creativity. In this workshop we will cover choosing a subject, finding sources and resources, using research methods, and structuring and writing the work. Time permitting, we will consider such topics as the place of objectivity in a post-truth society, the ethics of biography, writing about the living subject vis-a-vis the dead, and the blending of fact and fiction. Participating writers are asked to give some thought beforehand to potential biographical subjects for discussion.

James Dempsey, originally from England and based in Massachusetts, is the author of the biography, The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer (University Press of Florida, 2014), and co-author the exhibition catalogue Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele,and Picasso from the Scofield Thayer Collection (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018). He is a Consulting Producer on the film Strokes of Genius: Scofield Thayer – The Man Who Made America Modern.  While researching at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Dempsey discovered a previously unpublished poem by Thayer’s friend, E.E. Cummings. Dempsey has written several books (fiction and non-fiction) and numerous articles for both academic and general audiences. An award-winning journalist (Associated Press and United Press International), he is an adjunct instructor in the Humanities and Arts Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.