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Telling Shared Stories: Memoirists on Ethics and the Craft

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Join us for a virtual event on Zoom with Lilly Dancygoer, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Marcos Gonsalez, and Jenn Shapland as they discuss memoirs

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Join memoirists Lilly Dancygoer, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Marcos Gonsalez, and Jenn Shapland as they discuss the ethics and craft of telling shared stories. This event will be held on Zoom.

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The challenge of telling your own story in memoir is daunting enough—how do authors handle the added pressure of speaking for someone else, too? When telling a shared or inherited story, what is the memoirist's responsibility to their subject—and what tools do they use to reconstruct a story they can't tell from memory? Lilly Dancyger, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Marcos Gonsalez, and Jenn Shapland will read from their memoirs, discuss the ethics and craft of telling shared stories, and take questions from the audience.


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Lilly Dancyger is a contributing editor at Catapult, and assistant editor at Barrelhouse Books. She's the author of Negative Space, a reported and illustrated memoir selected by Carmen Maria Machado as one of the winners of the 2019 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards; and the editor of Burn It Down, a critically acclaimed anthology of essays on women's anger from Seal Press. Her writing has been published by Longreads, The Washington Post, Glamour, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and more. She lives in New York City, and you can find her on twitter at @lillydancyger.


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Alex Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir (Flatiron Books, 2017), which received a Lambda Literary Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE, the Prix des libraires du Quebec, and the Prix France Inter-JDD, an award for one book of any genre in the world. Named one of the best books of the year by publications on three continents, it has been translated into ten languages and is currently in development with Public Record and HBO. Their next book, Both and Neither, is a combined work of memoir, history, cultural analysis, trans re-imaginings, and international road trip about life beyond the gender binary. Excerpted in Best American Essays 2020, it is forthcoming from Doubleday and publishers internationally.


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Marcos Gonsalez is an essayist, author, and professor of literature living in New York City. Marcos’ debut memoir, Pedro's Theory, was published by Melville House in January. Marcos’s essays have appeared in Buzzfeed, Literary Hub, Electric Literature, Inside Higher Education, Ploughshares, Catapult, The New Inquiry, and elsewhere.


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Jenn Shapland is a writer and archivist living in New Mexico. Her first book, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award and was longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. She has a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

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