memoir news

1) There was a great, and most of all, sane, conversation about memoir writing on NPR today, with William Zinsser, the guy who wrote the classic On Writing Well. (The 30th anniversary edition comes out in May.) I’m so tired of these reactionary media stories about memoir writing, especially post-James Frey. Zinsser’s comments on the whole thing were very mellow, very sane. Interestingly, he said memoir was about “inventing truth.” That’s the best description I’ve heard.

2) I was flipping through some publisher’s catalogs at work today and noticed that Jonathan Franzen has a memoir coming out in September. I’m very excited about this. There was what I assume is a piece of the upcoming memoir in Best American Essays this year, and I thought it was quite good. I’ve actually never read Franzen’s fiction, which is, of course, what he is known for with the whole Oprah –The Corrections hubbub. But his collection of essays, How to Be Alone was fantastic. I can’t wait to read his memoir.


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