The 'memoir problem', revisited.

Pittaway, Gail (2018) The 'memoir problem', revisited. Great Writing Conference 2018, Imperial College London , 23-24 June 2018.

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The ‘memoir problem’ revisited “That you had parents and a childhood does not of itself qualify you to write a memoir”. Neil Gunzlinger, book reviewer for the New York Times, griped in a review of yet another confessional memoir. It’s true; suddenly everyone is writing memoir, even people who only ever wrote fiction, rock music or poetry, or never wrote before. I even find myself writing memoir, but mining some of my own fictional writing for triggers and nudges, delving into old poems for clues and lines of inquiry. After all, the memory does not always linger on. Now, since revisiting this autobiographical writing as a resource for chapters of my Creative Nonfiction PhD thesis, a food memoir, in this paper I’ll discuss attempts made to fictionalise the ‘true’ events of the stories, and the uses made of them, to revitalise memoir. I also reflect on the work of controversial memoirist Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose six-volume work, ‘My struggle’, has offended members of his extended family, critics and purists, or simply bored many readers with the impossibly detailed accounts of his life, to ask again of memoir, “Should it be artful or truthful?”

Item Type:Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Keywords that describe the item:memoir, creative writing , truth telling
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions:Schools > School of Media Arts
ID Code:6677
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Deposited On:18 Dec 2018 00:43
Last Modified:18 Dec 2018 00:43

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