“Writing a Memoir of Childhood in Your 80’s” by Jimmye S. Hillman
This talk will outline some of the challenges and joys of starting a memoir later in life. How do you think about what to include and what to leave out? Hillman, who began his memoir after a successful career as an economist, will speak about embarking on a writing career in his 80s, learning to render details of a childhood spent on a subsistence farm during the Depression, making accounts of family and small town life from a distance of 70 years. What are the pitfalls of humor, of writing the embarrassing description or telling it “like it was” about family members? Hillman will muse about how a writer of any age might expand his personal story beyond the individual concerns of a family saga to include historical, religious, and political reflections on a particular time and place.
JIMMYE S. HILLMAN was born in 1923. He grew up on a subsistence farm in southern Mississippi, the subject of his book Hogs, Mules and Yellow Dogs. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California Berkeley and has been associated with the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he served as Head of Department of Agricultural Economics for thirty years. He also served as Executive Director for the National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber under President Johnson and as a Consultant on U.S.-Japanese agricultural trade policies during Reagan’s Administration.
MFA Program Manager