Tag Archives: Mary Karr

Mary Karr Reveals Her Favorite Memoirs

28 Oct

KarrMary Karr Credit Illustration by Jillian Tamaki via The New York Times

Mary Karr, memoirist extraordinaire, has a new book out. It’s not a memoir but a book about writing memoir: The Art of Memoir. I’m adding it to my ever-growing must-read list.

I’ve had the opportunity to hear Mary Karr speak at the Brooklyn Book Festival and at the Festival of Faith & Writing, and of course she is the author of The Liar’s Club, Lit, and Cherry.

I love Q&As and was thrilled to read her answers to The New York Times’ Sunday Book Review “By the Book” column. I got some great reading inspiration (Annie LiontasLet Me Explain You, about a Greek-American family), I loved her answers to whom she’d invite to a literary party (can I get an invite?!), and I was happy to discover her favorite memoir is St. Augustine’s Confessions, since I had recently discussed the book in my class “Writing Under the Influence of the Beat Generation” at the Hobart Festival of Women Writers.

I was especially intrigued by her question “Do Flannery O’Connor’s letters count?” to the question “Who are the best memoirists ever?” I used Kerouac’s letters for much of my research for Burning Furiously Beautiful. I think in some way, letters are a form of memoir. In another way, though, they don’t necessarily adhere to the intentional literary craft I discussed in my response to “In the Age of Memoir, What’s the Legacy of the Confessional Mode?” Though a great letter writer is better than a mediocre memoirist!

You can read the full interview with Mary Karr here.

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Writing Wednesday: Brooklyn Book Festival 2011

28 Sep

New York’s largest free literary event took place on Sunday, September 18.  That’s right — the Brooklyn Book Festival!

My writer cohort and I had such a blast zig-zagging through the tents, ducking into readings, creeping close to authors, poring over books, and running into people we knew.  She introduced me to John Woo of the Magnetic Fields.  We ran into another friend from Little, Brown and Company, who instead of going the MFA route is doing his Masters in Publishing at NYU.  I saw Alisa Harris, whom I used to work with at Patrol, and who now has her own book out.

On the speaker side of things, I got to hear my writing mentors Phillip Lopate and Darcey Steinke.  I also got to hear Mary Karr, whom I had also heard speak at FFW.  Plus so many other great speakers.

 

 

I spied my writing colleague Susan E. Isaac‘s memoir on the Greenlight Bookstore table at Brooklyn Book Fest.

 

…as well as Greek American Tina Fey‘s memoir.