Craft Book Discussion: Writing Memoir

For our most recent craft book discussion, we had a fantastic conversation about the ins-outs-ups-downs and sideways of writing memoir. Here are some of the things we shared…

Memoirs That Have Stayed With Us (in no particular order)

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Alexandra Fuller)
Night (Elie Wiesel)
A Drinking Life (Peter Hamill)
Liar’s Club (Mary Karr)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)
Wild (Cheryl Strayed)
Fatelessness (Imre Kertesz)
Limbo: A Memoir (A. Manette Ansay)
Hell and Other Destinations (Madeline Albright)
The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch)
This Is Not the Story You Think It Is…: A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Laura Munson)
Duke of Deception (Geoffrey Wolff)
My Losing Season (Pat Conroy)
My Father’s Keep (Ed Abell)
The Land Remembers (Ben Logan)
Maid (Stephanie Land)
Ma’s Dictionary: Straddling the Social Class Divide (Milan Kovacovic)
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (Amy Krause Rosenthal)
We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter (Rachael Hanel)
When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi)
Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Ocean Vuong)


Memoir Writing by Our Participants


Victoria Lynn Smith: Writing Near the Lake

Jan Wilberg: Red’s Wrap



Nancy Bauer-King: Madness to Ministry: A Woman’s Journey from Psych Unit to Pulpit; Little Feet Be Careful

Ed Abell: My Father’s Keep: A Journey of Forgiveness through the Himalaya

Myles Hopper: My Father’s Shadow

Kim Suhr: Maybe I’ll Learn: Snapshots of a Novice MomRamon: An Immigrant’s Journey (Ramon Aguirre as told to Kim Suhr)


Resources for Writing Creative Nonfiction & Memoir

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction–From Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between (Lee Gutkind)

Brevity article: “Write About Your Loss”

Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir (Beth Kephart)