S136. Resisting Rise, Fall, Resolve: Strategies for the Anti-Memoir

Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
Saturday, March 1, 2014
10:30 am to 11:45 am


Traditional memoir suggests a journey from tragedy to redemption with a sane narrator who provides a handrail through chaos. This panel discusses possibilities for disrupting the classic rise-fall arc of the confession, exploring ways to rough up the memoir genre. Authors can create danger through form: 2nd and 3rd person, graphics and text/image hybrid, novelization, fractured narrative, scrambled chronology, meta-textual deconstruction, or, simply, falling deeper and deeper as narrative arc.



Elizabeth Kadetsky publishes fiction and nonfiction widely, in The New York Times and elsewhere. She has awards from Pushcart, Fulbright, Breadloaf, and the MacDowell, and UCross colonies. Her memoir will be in rEprint from Dzanc in 2013. She is assistant professor at Penn State University.

Robin Romm is the author of two books and a chapbook. Her story collection, The Mother Garden, was a finalist for the PEN USA prize. Her memoir, The Mercy Papers, received many accolades and was a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year." She is faculty at Warren Wilson's Low-Residency Program.

David Stuart MacLean is a PEN/American award-winning essayist. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Guernica, Better, and This American Life. A former Fulbright Scholar in India, he is the author of the memoir The Answer to the Riddle is Me.

Joanna Rakoff is the author of A Fortunate Age, winner of the Goldberg Prize for Fiction, and the forthcoming memoir, My Salinger Year. She has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Vogue, and she teaches at Columbia University and Brooklyn College.

Elizabeth Scarboro is the author of the memoir My Foreign Cities, which was listed by Publisher's Weekly as one of the "Top Ten Memoirs for Spring."  She is also the author of two novels for children. Her work has appeared most recently in the Bellevue Literary Review and The New York Times.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center