F187. Life Is a Hybrid: Crossing Genre Boundaries in Memoir

B115, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Friday, March 29, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Memoirs are becoming weirder and wilder, going beyond the writer’s life to incorporate journalism, ethnography, true crime, cultural criticism, poetry, and even fiction. Mixing genres, writers layer their work, chasing the complexity of life. But why (and when to) choose to mix it up? What research challenges or opportunities await? And how do you escape categorization when it’s time to publish? Memoirists—some with multiple books and some with debuts—offer practical insights on transgressing genre.



Alexandria (Alex) Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder & A Memoir, which received a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and the Chautauqua Prize, and was named one of the best books of 2017 by The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, and Audible.com. They are an assistant professor at Bowdoin.

Emily Maloney’s collection of essays, Cost of Living, about the American healthcare system, is forthcoming from Flatiron Books. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Glamour, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She is also a MacDowell Fellow.

Chris Feliciano Arnold is the author of The Third Bank of the River: Power and Survival in the Twenty-First Century Amazon. The recipient of a 2014 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, he teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco.

Ruth Behar is a cultural anthropologist, fiction writer, and poet. She is the author of The Vulnerable Observer, An Island Called Home, and Traveling Heavy, and a book of poems, Everything I Kept. Her novel, Lucky Broken Girl, won the Pura Belpré Award. She teaches at the University of Michigan.

Joshua Rivkin is the author of Chalk: The Art and Erasure of Cy Twombly. A recipient of fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center, his writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center