Decades after Julia McKenzie Munemo’s father died, she learned that he wrote interracial pornography. She hid the stack of his old paperbacks from her Zimbabwean husband, their mixed-race children, and herself before realizing her obligation to understand her racial legacy.
Today, the surprisingly elastic form of the memoir embraces subjects that include dying, illness, loss, relationships, and self-awareness. Writing to reveal the inner self—the pilgrimage into one’s spiritual and/or religious nature—is a primary calling. Contemporary memoirists are exploring this field with innovative storytelling, rigorous craft, and new styles of confessional authorship.
In a fascinating work of religious history and cultural inquiry, Hatfield brings to life the true story of a nineteenth-century farmer-spiritualist, Jonathan Koons, whom thousands traveled to Ohio to see. As heirs to the second Great Awakening, he and his followers were part of a larger, uniquely American moment that still marks the culture today.
In Beep, David Wanczyk illuminates the sport of blind baseball to show us a remarkable version of America’s pastime. With balls tricked out to squeal three times per second, and with bases that buzz, this game of baseball for the blind is both innovative and intense. And when the best beep baseball team in America, the Austin Blackhawks, takes on its international rival, Taiwan Homerun, no one’s thinking about disability.
When Deborah Gold and her husband signed up to foster parent in their rural mountain community, they did not foresee that it would lead to a roller-coaster fifteen years of involvement with a traumatized yet resilient birth family. They fell in love with Michael (a toddler when he came to them), yet they had to reckon with the knowledge that he could leave their lives at any time. In Counting Down, Gold tells the story of forging a family within a confounding system.
In essays that take wide-ranging forms—ideal for creative nonfiction classes—established and emerging writers with roots in Appalachia take on the theme of silencing in Appalachian culture. They write about families left behind, hard-earned educations, selves transformed, identities chosen, and risks taken.
In The Novel of the Future, Anaïs Nin explores the act of creation — in film, art, and dance as well as literature — to chart a new direction for the young artist struggling against what she perceived as the sterility, formlessness, and spiritual bankruptcy afflicting much of mid-twentieth-century fiction.
In a thoughtful, humorous voice born of Appalachian storytelling, Childers brings to life family tales that affected the entire region to make sense of her personal journey and find the joy and clarity that often emerge after the earth shakes terribly beneath us.
In Dragging Wyatt Earp essayist Robert Rebein explores what it means to grow up in, leave, and ultimately return to the iconic Western town of Dodge City, Kansas. In chapters ranging from memoir to reportage to revisionist history, Rebein contrasts his hometown’s Old West heritage with a New West reality that includes salvage yards, beefpacking plants, and bored teenagers cruising up and down Wyatt Earp Boulevard.
Power in the Blood: A Family Narrative traces Linda Tate’s journey to rediscover the Cherokee-Appalachian branch of her family and provides an unflinching examination of the poverty, discrimination, and family violence that marked their lives.
The memoir is the most popular and expressive literary form of our time. Writers embrace the memoir and readers devour it, propelling many memoirs by relative unknowns to the top of the best-seller list. Writing programs challenge authors to disclose themselves in personal narrative. Memoir and personal narrative urge writers to face the intimacies of the self and ask what is true.
The period just prior to the birth of a child is a time of profound personal transformation for expectant parents. Expecting Teryk: An Exceptional Path to Parenthood is an intimate exploration, written in the form of a letter from a parent to her future son, that reclaims a rite of passage that modern society would strip of its magic.
Something other than a memoir of a life well lived, Body Story conveys Julia K. De Pree's troubling journey from adolescence to adulthood and from anorexia to health. For De Pree, between being a girl and being a woman, there was starvation. Body Story is her intimate account of girlhood, virginity, anorexia, and motherhood. De Pree's prose is spare and unguarded, revealing in vivid flashbacks and poignant vignettes the sources of her inner pain.
A groundbreaking approach to studying not only cultural linguistics but also the cultural heritage of a historic time and place in America. It gives witness to the issues of race and class inherent in the way we write, speak, and think.
Wyeth People is the story of one writer's search for the meaning of artistic creativity, approached from personal contact with the work of one of the world's great artists, Andrew Wyeth. In the 1960s, just beginning his career as a writer, Gene Logsdon read a magazine article about Andrew Wyeth in which the artist commented at length on his own creative impulse.