Posts Tagged: memoir

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The Rumpus Interview with Karen Salyer McElmurray

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Karen Salyer McElmurray talks about academia, the relationship between flaws and perfection, writing memoir, and the "tapestry" of writers who inspire her. ...more

The Way We Were

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Things in my own life that make me want to write about them are often things that are unresolved. And I use writing to figure them out.

Memoirists Meredith Maran, Dani Shapiro, Ayelet Waldman, Kate Christensen, and Nick Flynn speak in a YouTube video about why they write about their own lives, and the best/worst things that happened to them as a result of writing a memoir.

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The Writing is the Ball

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In an excerpt from Why We Write About Ourselves, National Book Award-winner James McBride writes about that question, among other things—the ethics of memoir writing, diversity in publishing, the necessity of struggle, writing in the age of Twitter—and shares some advice for aspiring memoirists:

Be wildly ambitious about your writing, and forget the stuff connected to writing.To use a sports meta­phor: keep your eye on the ball.

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In Defense of Memoir

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If you don’t like memoir, don’t read it. And certainly don’t write about it. So you might be a critically acclaimed novelist, but if you don’t understand the genre, your critique is like Vin Scully smacking down golf, or Bob Dylan slamming rap.

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Paul Lisicky

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Paul Lisicky

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The Rumpus Book Club talks with Paul Lisicky about his new book The Narrow Door>/em>, how much of your story you own, and the importance of reading your own work aloud. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Mira Ptacin

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Author Mira Ptacin discusses her memoir Poor Your Soul, what inspires her to write, motherhood, and why she considers her beat “the uterus and the American Dream.” ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Meline Toumani

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Meline Toumani discusses her debut, There Was and There Was Not, the rewards and risks of writing a political memoir, and what it means to approach a divided past and future. ...more

Reading Mixtape feature

Anna March’s Reading Mixtape #14: Memoirs about Hard Times and Beauty

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I love memoirs about difficult times that don’t sugarcoat it, that don’t pretty it up. I love a memoir that finds the beauty—there is such an unbelievable amount of beauty in this world—without handing out a Hollywood ending, without dipping the pain in glitter, without pretending we all get held all night, every night by someone wonderful with a fat heart and artistic soul.

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The Rumpus Interview with Jenny Lawson

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Jenny Lawson talks about her second memoir, Furiously Happy, mental illness, and growing up in small-town Texas. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Janice Erlbaum

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Janice Erlbaum talks about her new novel, I, Liar, how writing memoir compares to writing fiction, homelessness in America, and Munchausen syndrome and Borderline Personality Disorder. ...more

Rick Moody

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Rick Moody

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The Rumpus Book Club chats with Rick Moody about his new book Hotels of North America, unreliable narrators, hotel porn, how titles are uncopyrightable, and Internet comment sections. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Debra Monroe

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Debra Monroe talks about her new memoir, My Unsentimental Education, the future of the genre, and how the Internet has changed what it means to be human. ...more

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The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Laurie Jean Cannady

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The author of the new memoir Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry Soul talks about growing up impoverished, abused, and in love with words. ...more

The Skeleton of a Story

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Over at Brevity’s nonfiction blog, author Janice Gary talks about how to structure a nonfiction story:

Fiction writers start with nothing and create a world. Memoirists start with an entire universe that already exists. We are more like sculptors than painters, relying on the advice of Michelangelo, who supposedly said he made the statue of David by taking away everything in the stone that was not David.

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sarah einstein

The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Sarah Einstein

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Mot was living my own fear... I wanted to learn from him how I might survive, if I too ended up without a home, without the resources to live what I thought of as a minimally decent life. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Kate Bolick

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Kate Bolick talks about her new book, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, writing and the nuclear family, and whether women are finally people yet. ...more

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The Saturday Rumpus Interview: Karrie Higgins

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The more narratives that approach reality "differently" get treated as "insane" or "unreal," the less readers are exposed to them, and the more "unreal" or "insane" they seem. It's like a feedback loop. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Margo Jefferson

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Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Margo Jefferson talks about her new memoir, Negroland, and about growing up in an elite black community in the segregated Chicago of the 1950s and 1960s. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Amy Fusselman

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Amy Fusselman discusses her latest memoir/manifesto/philosophical treatise Savage Park, the rise of a new kind of nonfiction, and what kind of art “discombobulates her and makes her scream.” ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Mary Karr

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Mary Karr talks about her new book The Art of Memoir, the perception of memoir from a "trashy" form, the virtues of poetry, and the complexity of truth-telling. ...more

Judging the Judges

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This year’s judges of the National Book Award seem to agree that women’s nonfiction writing is abundant and prize-worthy. The 2015 nonfiction longlist includes seven female-authored books, out of 10, the largest percentage of female nominees in the prize’s history. The longlist also contains two books by people of color, compared to last year’s one.

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