Memoir Monday Online: Coleman, Thomas, Lawson, Gay


Memoir Monday is a collaboration between The Rumpus, Narratively, Catapult, Granta, Guernica, and Literary Hub to bring the very best first-person writing together in a weekly newsletter and a quarterly reading series.

The reading series usually takes place at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, but we’re observing social distancing rules by holding it on Zoom instead! July’s event took place on Monday, 7/20 and featured readings from Tyrese L. Coleman, R. Eric Thomas, Shayla Lawson, and Ross Gay. If you missed the live event, you can watch the video below—and then sign up for the Memoir Monday newsletter so you can be sure to catch the next one in real time!

(Please also consider supporting these wonderful writers and The Rumpus by visiting our Bookshop storefront and purchasing their books today!)

You can browse the Memoir Monday book list mentioned in the video here!

About the readers:

Tyrese L. Coleman is the author of the collection, How to Sit: A Memoir in Stories and Essays, a 2019 PEN Open Book Award finalist published with Mason Jar Press in 2018. Writer, wife, mother, attorney, and writing instructor, she is a contributing editor at Split Lip Magazine. Her essays and stories have appeared in several publications, including Black Warrior Review, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, and the Kenyon Review and noted in Best American Essays. She is an alumni of the Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University.

R. Eric Thomas is a playwright and a Senior Staff Writer for where he writes “Eric Reads the News,” a daily current events and culture column. His writing has appeared in the New York Times as well as Man Repeller, Philadelphia Magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is also the long-running host of The Moth StorySlam in Washington, DC and Philadelphia and has appeared multiple times on The Moth Radio Hour. For his playwriting, Eric won the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play and the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award; his work has been seen on stages around the country. Here for It is his first book. He lives in Baltimore with his extraordinary husband, Rev. David Norse Thomas, and their ever-growing collection of succulents.

Shayla Lawson is the author of three books of poetry—A Speed Education in Human Being, the chapbook Pantone, and I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean, as well as the new essay collection, This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope. She was born in Rochester, Minnesota, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, studied architecture in Italy and spent a few years as a Dutch housewife—milkmaid braids and all. She teaches at Amherst College and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Ross Gay is the author, most recently, of the books Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude and The Book of Delights. He helps to curate The Tenderness Project with Shayla Lawson and Essence London. His next book, Be Holding, is forthcoming in September—check out our exclusive cover reveal here.

About the host:

Lilly Dancyger is a contributing editor at Catapult and assistant editor at Barrelhouse Books. She’s the editor of Burn It Down, a critically acclaimed anthology of essays on women’s anger, named one of the “most recommended books of the season” by Literary Hub; and the author of Negative Space, a reported and illustrated memoir selected by Carmen Maria Machado as a winner of the 2019 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards, forthcoming in 2021. Lilly is the founder and host of Memoir Monday, and her writing has been published by Longreads, The Rumpus, the Washington Post, Glamour, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and more.