R173. Unmasking the Masked Self: The Complex Role of Persona in Memoir

Room 303, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level
Thursday, March 5, 2020
10:35 am to 11:50 am


The use of a constructed persona in the essay hails from Montaigne, but persona in memoir is more complicated. If memoirists are telling the honest truth of ourselves, is it ever truthful to hide behind a mask? How can a memoirist be honest and artful at the same time? This panel of award-winning memoirists will explore the intricate braid of voice, style, point-of-view, emotional authenticity, and narrative design to see if we really can tell the truths about ourselves, and if so, how.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_Unmasking_the_Masked_Self_Persona_Panel_Outline.docx



Dinty W. Moore is author of Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, the memoir Between Panic & Desire, and numerous other books of nonfiction.

Daisy Hernández is the author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir and coeditor of Colonize This! Her work has been published in National Geographic, Dogwood, The Rumpus, and many literary journals. She’s an assistant professor at Miami University in Ohio.

Sue William Silverman’s books include How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences; The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew; Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction; and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the nonfiction books Buddha’s Dog & Other Meditations, Southside Buddhist, and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy. He is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College and the editor of Sweet: A Literary Confection.

Jill Christman is the author of two memoirs, Darkroom: A Family Exposure (AWP Award Series in CNF winner) and Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood. A senior editor of River Teeth, she teaches creative nonfiction writing at Ball State University.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center