In 2011, Phyllis Rose read every book on the LEQ-LES shelf in the New York Public Library and wrote about the experience in an essay collection called The Shelf. In doing so, Rose joined the long tradition of “bibliomemoirs”—a blend of autobiography and literary criticism....more
Posts Tagged: memoir
But in the grand scheme of things, immersion journalism and other forms of narrative nonfiction, such as memoir, have done more for me as a reader than as a writer, allowing me to vicariously experience things I’d be too much of a wuss to ever even try, and to consider versions of life that generally feel out of reach.
Personal narratives offer writers an important source of inspiration for their writing. Writers edit out the dull portions of their lives to create a version that is both interesting and representative of a kind of universal experience. Kim Triedman writes at Beyond the Margins:
It is a symbiotic relationship to the core.
Worried you are too young to be working on a memoir? Worried you are revealing too many deep dark secrets and your relatives will disown you forever? Author Gary Shteyngart, 41—which he says is 74 in Russian years—shares some words of wisdom:
Which leads to the first question a memoirist must ask: What should I hold back?
Memoirist and Atlantic Wire blogger Jen Doll talks about weddings, open-bar hijinks, and what does and doesn’t work for her commitment-wise....more
Six-time novelist Kate Christensen talks about the shift to memoir, the benefits of blogging, using food as a springboard to tell the story of one’s life, and American society’s ongoing problem with pressuring women to be thin....more
Writer Kevin Brockmeier talks about his memoir A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip, the painful nature of seventh grade, treading the line between fact and fiction, and why he would save Karen Russell in the event of a nuclear apocalypse....more
NPR has an interview with author Tom Robbins about his new memoir, Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life. He gives some insight into his experience as a novelist-turned-memoirist, saying that writing a memoir is like driving down a once-familiar road,
…but there are potholes in it now, and some fast-food franchises sprung up along the way, and there’s occasionally a blind curve that you might not remember.
Faced with parenting children who have no qualms about bursting into tears, Zoe Zolbrod revisits her own stoic childhood, two generations of secret abuse, and whether crying may hold the power to protect....more
John W. Evans talks about his memoir Young Widower, which was partly borne from two Rumpus essays, and how to make meaning of something—especially grief and loss—if not through narrative....more
Sari Botton and Rebecca Walker talk about the challenges of writing about parents, becoming estranged from them, and then moving together past estrangement, to eventually heal the rift....more
Essayist and writer Geoffrey Wolff talks about the universality of experience, why good memoir draws more attention to the characters around you, and trading writing tips with his brother Tobias....more
Brachah Goykadosh reviews IRIS HAS FREE TIME by Iris Smyles today in The Rumpus Book Reviews....more
At Salon, Dani Shapiro writes an open response to a reader who felt that Shapiro’s memoir Slow Motion wasn’t fully honest because it didn’t include all the details of her life.
In it, she explains what memoir is and isn’t, and what honesty means for the form:
When I write fiction, I make things up.
Rumpus contributor Antonia Crane‘s forthcoming memoir, Spent, is getting some great reviews ahead of its early 2014 release. Check out what the Library Journal has to say:
“VERDICT This is not an antiprostitution diatribe, but is instead one woman’s account of how she gave up drugs and alcohol in favor of another addiction: sex work.
Rumpus contributor Micah Perks has a new eBook out on Shebooks called, Alone In The Woods: Cheryl Strayed, my daughter and me.
Micah Perks’ candid short memoir takes an insightful look at women and the wild, the wildness she experienced as a child on a commune in the Adirondack wilderness, the ways women and wildness are depicted in movies and books like Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir Wild, and the wilderness she discovers inside her own daughter.
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
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
National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, author of the recent memoir Men We Reaped, speaks candidly about handling grief, exploring place, and “the fragile balance of writing accurately without perpetuating stereotypes and archetypes.”...more
Kyle Boelte reviews Karen Green’s BOUGH DOWN today in The Rumpus Book Review....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