The Afternoon Series Welcomes Gabrielle Selz on "Creating Story in Memoir"

Date & Time:
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
De La Salle Hall: Hagerty Lounge, 1928 St. Marys Road, Moraga, CA 94575
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"Creating Story in Memoir and Biography" by Gabrielle Selz

This talk will focus on how to shape and condense life into a structured story. In other words, turning life, yours or another’s, into art. How do we shape a narrative that is factually accurate while also “feeling” true to the experience of reading? How do we marry chronology and evidence to a scaffolding of larger contexts and themes? This talk will look at ways to bring our creative imaginations to bear on history. Examples of biographies and memoirs, including works by Edmund de Wall, Susan Faludi, Leslie Jamison, Honor Moore and Poe Ballantine, will be discussed. Novelistic techniques such as psychological insights and dramatic sweep will be examined as they relate to narrative nonfiction. The biographer Phyllis Rose writes that “the magic of a great book is that it makes its own subject seem inevitable.” She asks us, “Did women in playgrounds exist before Grace Paley?” This Craft Conversation will look at ways to create such inevitability in our subjects and our stories.

Gabrielle Selz is an award-winning author. Her debut memoir Unstill Lifepublished by W.W. Norton in 2014, received the best memoir of the year award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and was listed as one of the best books of 2014 by the San Francisco Chronicle.


MFA in Creative Writing