F299. Framing Life: Notes on Structuring the Book-Length Memoir

Room 25, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Both a book and a life are finite, but one is far unrulier than the other. How can the memoirist contain the messiness of life in a single manuscript? Where might the story begin and end? How can the writer employ or disrupt narrative chronology to keep the reader turning pages? Four writers discuss structural approaches to memoirs they’ve written as well as memoirs they love. Failed attempts and lessons learned will be unabashedly included.


Heather Kirn Lanier is the author of the nonfiction book, Teaching in the Terrordome, as well as two award-winning poetry chapbooks, The Story You Tell Yourself and Heart-Shaped Bed in Hiroshima. She teaches at Southern Vermont College.

Kelly Sundberg's essays have appeared in Best American Essays 2015, Gulf Coast, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, Slice magazine, The Rumpus, and been listed as notables in Best American Essays 2013 and 2016. Her memoir is forthcoming from HarperCollins. She is a PhD candidate at Ohio University.

Jill Christman is the author of two memoirs, Darkroom: A Family Exposure (AWP Award Series in Creative Nonfiction winner) and Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood. She teaches nonfiction writing in Ashland University’s low-residency MFA and at Ball State University.

Kate Hopper is the author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers and coauthor of Silent Running, a memoir of running and autism. She teaches in Ashland University's low-residency MFA program, online, and at the Loft Literary Center.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside