Making the Personal Public: Airing Secrets in Memoir

119AB, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 100 Level
Saturday, March 26, 2022
9:00 am to 10:15 am


In memoir, how do we balance telling the story we need to tell with the discomfort of exposing secrets that can cause harm—especially to those we love? How do we write despite the possible fallout? Five acclaimed memoirists tackle this question through their own candid explorations of family, romantic partners, and careers, exploring what it means to make the personal public. Attendees will come away with tools to dig deep into the truths they must tell.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Event_Outline_for_Making_The_Personal_Public-_Airing_Secrets_in_Memoir.pdf



Leslie Gray Streeter is a journalist, author, speaker, and advocate for grieving people. She released her first book, the memoir Black Widow. She and her work have appeared in Palm Beach Post; Washington Post; O, the Oprah Magazine; Seattle Times; the Atlantic, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and more.

Joanna Rakoff is the author of the bestsellers My Salinger Year—recently adapted into a feature film starring Sigourney Weaver—and A Fortunate Age, winner of the Goldberg Prize for Fiction. Her family memoir, The Fifth Passenger, will be out in 2022. She writes for the New York Times and Vogue.

Maya Shanbhag Lang holds a PhD in comparative literature and is the author of What We Carry and The Sixteenth of June. Her work has been featured in the New York TimesWashington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Times of India

Julie Metz is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Perfection and Eva and Eve: A Search for My Mother's Childhood and What a War Left Behind. She has written for publications including the New York Times, Tablet, Salon, Dame, and Catapult and is a fellow of MacDowell, Yaddo, and VCCA.

Jessica Pearce Rotondi is the author of What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family's Search for Answers, which Oprah Magazine named a best book of summer 2020. She is a a former senior editor at HuffPost and has written for the Boston Globe, History Channel, Reader’s Digest, Salon, and Vogue.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center