Luis J. Rodriguez

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"I ended up being the one that fell through the cracks," says poet, novelist, and journalist Luis J. Rodriguez, whose memoir Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. (Curbstone Press, 1993) elevated him as a major figure in contemporary Chicano literature. In this video from Open Road Media, Rodriguez tells his story and explains how books helped him escape a dangerous life on the streets of Los Angeles.

Transforming Tragedy Into Art

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Vaddey Ratner discusses In the Shadow of Banyan, a debut novel depicting her family's experience during the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s. "I didn't want to write a memoir," she says. "What I wanted was to honor the lives lost, those who perished, and I wanted to do so through my endeavor to transorm personal pain with art." In the Shadow of Banyan will be published by Simon & Schuster in July.

Yoga Bitch

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Next month Three Rivers Press will publish Suzanne Morrison's memoir Yoga Bitch: One Woman's Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment. The book chronicles what happens when a coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking, steak-eating, twenty-five-year-old student decides to travel to Bali for a two-month yoga teacher training program.

The Memoir Project

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"Just because it happened doesn't make it interesting." Author and teacher Marion Roach Smith offers this and other priceless nuggets of advice for anyone thinking of writing a memoir in The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life, forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing on June 9.

Joyce Carol Oates on Widowhood

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Prolific author and Princeton professor Joyce Carol Oates recently appeared on the PBS NewsHour to speak with Jeffrey Brown about her new memoir, The Widow's Story (Ecco), in which she writes about her experience following the death of her husband three years ago. In this clip she discusses what she calls widowhood's "world of absurdity."

Maxine Hong Kingston and Leslie Marmon Silko

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Last week Maxine Hong Kingston, whose memoir, I Love a Broad Margin to My Life, was published in January by Knopf, and Leslie Marmon Silko, author of the memoir The Turquoise Ledge (Viking, 2010), read together at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

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