Seeing the Forest in the Trees: The Challenges and Rewards of Shaping a Memoir-in-Essays
The prospective writer of a memoir composed of separate, stand-alone essays faces challenges that the writer of a single-arc narrative memoir does not. Although each essay can and should stand alone, each must also relate to the other essays in significant ways so that that whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The reader, in effect, needs to see the forest, not only the separate trees. In this presentation, Rebecca McClanahan discusses the challenges and rewards of shaping In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays and offers suggestions to writers working in this form.
Free and open to the public. No registration required, just drop by. Seating is limited; doors will open at 6:15.
Rebecca McClanahan has published ten books of poetry and nonfiction, most recently “The Tribal Knot” (a multigenerational memoir) and a new edition of “Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively.” “In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays” is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2020. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, The Sun, and numerous anthologies. Recipient of the Glasgow Award in Nonfiction, the Wood Prize from Poetry Magazine, two Pushcart Prizes, the Carter Prize for the Essay, and four literary fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Rainier Writing Workshop and Queens University.
This event is part of our free monthly Wednesdays@Lit series.