Joyce Maynard on Writing a Memoir

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“There’s nothing more riveting on the page than somebody willing to honestly tell what that life is,” says Joyce Maynard, author of the memoirs At Home in the World (Picador, 1998) and The Best of Us (Bloomsbury, 2017), about the roots of writing a memoir in this CreativeLive video.

Nadia Owusu: Aftershocks

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“I am the blue chair island. I rock and the island rocks. I pull at a blue thread on the chair’s arm. I pull a hangnail from the third finger on my right hand.” In this Books Are Magic virtual event, Nadia Owusu reads from her debut memoir, Aftershocks (Simon & Schuster, 2021), and speaks with author Catherine E. McKinley.

My Salinger Year

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Joanna Rakoff’s memoir My Salinger Year (Knopf, 2014) has been adapted into a feature film directed by Philippe Falardeau and starring Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver. Set in 1995, an aspiring writer and poet takes a job at a literary agency in New York City that represents the notoriously reclusive J. D. Salinger and handles his fan mail.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras at the Radar Readings Series

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“In Spanish, our stories are slow, then fast, and we cackle constantly, even when we talk about the dead.” In this 2016 Radar Reading Series video, Ingrid Rojas Contreras reads from her memoir-in-progress about her grandfather, a curandero from Colombia, and how she and her mother both experienced amnesia.

Paul Lisicky Reads From Later

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“The theater goes dark. I’m watching characters move across the screen, but thinking more about Noah holding my hand, rotating the knuckle of my thumb with his own.” Paul Lisicky reads from his memoir Later: My Life at the Edge of the World (Graywolf Press, 2020) in this online reading event for Books Are Magic with Susan Choi. For more Lisicky, read his installation of Ten Questions.

Unorthodox

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This new Netflix miniseries about a woman growing up in a strict Hasidic Judaism sect in Brooklyn who flees her arranged marriage and cuts ties with the community is loosely based on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. The four-episode series is directed by Maria Schrader and stars Shira Haas, Amit Rahav, and Jeff Wilbusch.

Rebecca Solnit and Emma Watson

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“I successfully avoided husbands and children and day jobs—those things can all really interfere with your productivity.” In an interview with Emma Watson, Rebecca Solnit discusses how she has managed to write so prolifically, the communication of information as a cultural phenomenon, and the themes in her first memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence (Viking, 2020), which is featured in Page One in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Not Quite Not White

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“It’s a story of a young girl who comes to America in the early 1980s and, among many other things, discovers something called race,” says Sharmila Sen about her debut memoir, Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America (Penguin Books, 2018), which won the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in nonfiction.

Sarah M. Broom

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“If we truly love a place and are tethered to a place, then it’s our job to get to know that place.” In this Good Morning America interview, Sarah M. Broom speaks about her debut memoir, The Yellow House (Grove Press, 2019), which is a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction.

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