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.
7 thoughts on “AWP Nugget: Selling Out Everyone You Love (in Brevity)”
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.
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… 🙂
Do they have first aid stations for information overload? 😉
I love Stephen Elliott and get his daily emails from the Rumpus. If you don’t get them, I recommend you do because they are consistently amazing.
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!
Thanks for the post – you covered a lot of concerns I’m facing as I write my memoir. I also signed up with the Rumpus and their letters from authors service. Have a blessed day.
Hi Heather, glad I could be of help. We’re likely in the same memoir boat, figuring it out as we go along.