Posts Tagged: memoir
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....more
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.
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.
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....more
Over at The Millions, Nick Ripatrazone asked some authors, including William Giraldi and Christa Parravani, which were the books that defined their childhoods and, subsequently, their writing imaginations....more
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.
When I talked to him that weekend, he explained I couldn’t have been pregnant because we hadn’t had sex. He knew because he and his dad sometimes hired a bull and watched it work. He’d had sex himself, in the past.
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.