AWP Nugget: Selling Out Everyone You Love (in Brevity)

AWP, CHICAGO: Does a writer of memoir–or even a fiction writer painting true stories in camouflage–invariably sell out friends and loved ones? Five nonfiction writers wrestled with that topic here at the first day of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference. I summarized the panel for the Brevity blog; you can find my account here.

From left to right: Lee Martin, Poe Ballantine, Krista Bremer, Stephen Elliott, Cheryl Strayed

7 thoughts on “AWP Nugget: Selling Out Everyone You Love (in Brevity)

  1. Fascinating topic, Patrick. I’ve wondered about this myself – and I had a student once who grappled with this personally (it wasn’t easy for her).

    There was a book idea I was considering where these issues were paramount. In fact, I rejected the idea as too tricky to execute because of this very issue. Can’t wait to read your account at the Brevity blog.

    Hope you’re enjoying the heck out of your time at AWP.


    1. Hi Milli! I’m not sure it ever is easy, whether you’re fictionalizing truth or writing CNF. One thing they said is that you can change details–names, physical descriptions, locations–but the subjects still know it’s them.

      I am enjoying myself. We’ll see how I’m doing on Saturday when I’m ready to pass out… 🙂


    1. I had not been reading The Rumpus, but I went straight to their bookfair table after this session and told them I was a new fan. I’m now signed up, good to hear it was the right decision!


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