In 1994, Mikail Eldin was an arts journalist searching for a story. Five years later, he was a reporter who had survived firefights and brutal torture by Russian troops. He recounts his experiences in his memoir called The Sky Wept Fire. This moving piece featured by Granta is an extract from his memoir....more
Posts Tagged: memoir
For Slate, Amanda Hess reports on a boom in the publication of personal essays about women’s issues like rape, abortion, or an eye-poppingly grotesque parasite infection that we’d rather remain ignorant of:
These stories are emotionally electric, politically relevant, and powerfully told.
The LA Times reported this week that sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai’s memoir I Am Malala, has been banned from over 40,000 schools in her native country of Pakistan.
The book (co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb) describes Malala’s transformation into a vocal advocate for girl’s education rights while living under Taliban rule and the attempt by a member of the that organization to assassinate her....more
Melissa Petro, whose Rumpus essay “Not Safe For Work” contributed to getting her fired from a teaching job, writes in this month’s The New Inquiry about what she calls “The Writing Cure”—how writing about traumatic or damning life events offers a cure for often denied or disassociated feelings of victimization and shame....more
Most authors know that revealing intimate autobiographical secrets in our work can have a polarizing effect on our lives – old relationships are transformed or shattered, new ones born through the inevitable connections created.
In OUT, Alysia Abbot describes how publication of her memoir, Fairyland, about being raised by her gay father, opened a Pandora’s box of new information about both her parents....more
Some years ago I attended a [Margaret Atwood] reading….She introduced the story she read by saying that it was not autobiographical. Then she read her story about a woman who weighed somewhere in the vicinity of 300 pounds. When she was done, and the Q&A started, the first question was: “Miss Atwood, how did you lose all that weight?”
The Los Angeles Review of Books has a fascinating interview with several writers, including our very own David Biespiel, about the wriggly nature of truth in writing of any genre, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir—anything....more
“The story was there in the music, down to the epilogue.”
Leigh Newman’s memoir, Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home, gets a unique treatment over at Largehearted boy‘s Booknotes, a column where authors are asked to compile a sort of soundtrack to their process....more
“[Hamilton] Nolan is right to decry this kind of cynicism,” writes Almond. “But what he gets wrong in his piece is just as important as what he gets right....more
“By then Ken’s life was no secret. He’d already fought all his battles. His last battle was against AIDS. I thought about it everyday when I was dancing in the strip joints....more
When my memoir went out of print, it was as if someone had thrown a stray puppy onto my doorstep. Dazed, mangy, with a tendency to pee on the rug, this orphaned book was something I couldn’t shoo away, or worse, put down, but also something I didn’t have any room for in my life....more
There are those writers that relinquish their private lives to the world, choosing to share the honesty of experience, which is often difficult for those family members and friends who were part of this experience.
Changed names and confrontation come up all the time for the memoirist, but what about protecting those family members that don’t exist yet?...more
Dinty W. Moore’s rebuttal to Lorrie Moore’s essay in the New York Review of Books, in support of memoir-writing defends the genre and points out the absurdities in Moore’s adamant dismissal.
Memoirs and their questionable reliability have been the source of some recent contention, but Dinty Moore makes a case for the memoir as an authentic art form....more
“That it is being considered as book of criticism, rather than as memoir, seems the luck of the draw. Some of the essays in it were originally published in the guise of book reviews, but they always jump the rails of literary journalism and go off on their own course — assessing not just the text but its place in the constellation of her own interests and personal history, which are (respectively) various and knotty.”
In light of all the back and forth about memoirs, I think this appraisal of Terry Castle’s The Professor and Other Writings is pretty enlightening....more