Memoir Writing

All Kansas City Public Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, and will remain closed all day Thursday, November 27, for Thanksgiving.

These books at the Library all explore the art and craft of memoir writing.

The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative
By Thomas Larson
The memoir is one of the most popular and expressive literary forms of our time. In The Memoir and the Memoirist, critic and memoirist Thomas Larson explores the craft and purpose of writing this new form. Larson guides the reader from the autobiography and the personal essay to the memoir – a genre focused on a particularly emotional relationship in the author's past, an intimate story concerned more with who is remembering, and why, than with what is remembered. For both the interested reader of memoir and the writer wrestling with the craft, this book provides guidance and insight into the many facets of this provocative and popular art form.

Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories book jacket

Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories: 167 Ways to Tell Your Life Stories
By Carol LaChapelle
Asserting that each life contains the makings of a memoir, Carol LaChapelle gives writers, journal writers, and family historians the tools to explore their memories and turn them into great stories. Condensing 20 years of teaching experience into 167 stimulating exercises, Carol helps readers access and describe the important people, places, and events in their lives.

Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir
By Natalie Goldberg
To write memoir, we must first know how to remember. Through timed, associative, and meditative exercises, Old Friend from Far Away guides you to the attentive state of thought in which you discover and open forgotten doors of memory. At once a written celebration of the memoir form, a course full of practical teachings, and a meditation on consciousness, love, life, and death, this book welcomes aspiring writers of all levels and encourages them to find their unique voice to tell their stories.

So You Want To Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and the Personal Narrative
By Marge Piercy and Ira Wood
What fiction and memoir writers really need to know is outlined by a bestselling author and a publisher. Topics include how to begin a piece by seducing the reader, how to create characters that embody the infinite contradictions of human behavior, and how to master the elements of plotting fiction. 

Memory & Narrative book jacket

Memory & Narrative: The Weave of Life-Writing
By James Olney
Memory and Narrative presents an elegant, authoritative account of how life-writing has changed over time to arrive at its present form. James Olney, a distinguished scholar of autobiography, tells the story of an evolving literary form that originated in the autobiographical writings of St. Augustine, underwent profound changes in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's life-writing trilogy and, as Olney explains, found a momentary conclusion in the work of Samuel Beckett.

Writing Your Life: A Journey of Discovery
By Patti Miller
Exploring both the mystery of personal discovery and the practical side of putting experiences to paper, this book urges people to write about their lives and learn from what they've composed. It provides techniques for getting started, handling perspective, finding an inner voice, and bringing experiences to life on the page. It also explores issues like selective memory, emotional healing, and how to communicate truths without clichés.

Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art
By Judith Barrington
Barrington’s nimble prose, her deep belief in the importance of this genre, and her delight in the rich array of memoirists writing today make this book more than the typical "how-to" creative writing book. It is thought-provoking, explanatory, and practical: each chapter ends with writing exercises. It covers everything from questions of truth and ethics to questions of craft and the crucial retrospective voice. An appendix provides information on legal issues.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.

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