Nonfiction Now: You Lived Through It; Do We Have To Read About It?

If you'll be in Flagstaff, we invite you to come to our panel at 9 a.m. Saturday, Halloween Morn, in Doyle at the conference center. You are encouraged to wear your pajamas. Lost your schedule? Click here.

[Just roll right out of bed and come on down.]


Here's a description of the panel.
Much has been written about the therapeutic benefits of writing and art-making for survivors of traumas such as war, disasters, slavery, disease, rape, incest. In other words, the writing is generally agreed to be good for the mental health of the amateurs. What about those of us who call ourselves writers? When does nonfiction writing about trauma rise to the level of art? What makes some artful, and others, self-serving and irrelevant? Of course the answers are subjective, but we will explore the questions and hazard some answers. Speaking as writers, readers, and editors, we will examine successful and unsuccessful creative nonfictions and tease out our reasons for making those judgments.

These are the authors and works we are quoting in our presentations, as well as other recommended works. Also included are links to books we've written.

Jane Hirschfield, Given Sugar, Given Salt
Dani Shapiro, Still Writing
Lucy Grealy, Autobiography of a Face
Gregory Orr, The Blessing
Richard Hoffman, Half the House
Kathryn Harris, The Kiss
Janice Gary, Short Leash: a Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance

Joan Didion, "Goodbye to All That" in Slouching Towards Bethlethem
Toni Morrison, "The Site of Memory" in Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, ed. William Zinsser
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself
(Note: There are various versions of his autobiography.)
Judy Ruiz, "The Mother, the Daughter, and the Holy Horse: A Trilogy," Iowa Review vol. 23, no. 2
S.L. Wisenberg, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch book
audiobook
Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions

Recommended:
Alfred Doeblin, Destiny's Journey
Raymond Federer, SHHH: The Story of a Childhood
Stanley Elkin, "Why I Live Where I Live" and title essay, Pieces of Soap
Janet Burroway, Losing Tim: A Memoir
Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
An Interrupted Life: The Diaries of Etty Hillesum


Elizabeth Kadestsky:                                                                                                                                          Judith Herman: Trauma and Recovery
Ben Yagoda: Memoir 
Cathy Caruth (essays by Dori Laub and Cathy Caruth in) Trauma: Explorations in Memory
Joan Didion: The Year of Magical Thinking
Simone de Beauvoir: A Very Easy Death
JoAnn Beard, The Boys of my Youth ("Fourth State of Matter")
Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Recommended:
Carlo Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli
Sarah Manguso, The Guardians 
Sophie Calle, Exquisite Pain
Elizabeth KadetskyThe Poison that Purifies You 
On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World 
First There is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance 
facebook.com/ekadetsky

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Hi Sandi! in my bibliography above (but not my talk) I mistakenly cited Judith Butler as the author of Trauma and Recovery, but it is Judith Herman. Sorry!

Cancer Bitch said...

Got it. Let me know about any more changes. And readers, what are your go-to trauma nonfic books?