Episode 437: The Freedom of a Pen Name and the Power of Voice in Memoir – Interview with Carolyn Hays

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, Lori is interviewing Carolyn Hays. They’ll be talking about the freedom that can be found in a pen name and her new book A Girlhood: Letter to my Transgender Daughter.

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In this episode Carolyn Hays and Lori discuss:

  • Why writing in second-person is perfect when writing about gender.
  • How to recognize a scene while you’re living through it.
  • When to write out a scene in your memoir and when to summarize it.

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

About Carolyn Hays

Carolyn Hays is an award-winning, critically acclaimed, bestselling author who has chosen to publish A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter under a pen name to protect the privacy of her family. 

Her novels have been published by Hachette, Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins; her books are also widely translated. A Girlhood will have four overseas editions, including those by Picador UK and Flammarion in France. 

Her past books have been listed as New York Times Notable Books of the Year and Kirkus’s Best Fiction of the Year, and she’s written for National Public Radio and the Washington Post.

You can find her on her website or follow her publishers on Twitter at @PressShopPR and @BlairPublisher.

A Girlhood: Letter to my Transgender Daughter

A parent’s love letter to a daughter who has always known exactly who she is.

One ordinary day, a caseworker from the Department of Children and Families knocked on the Hays family’s door to investigate an anonymous complaint about the upbringing of their transgender child. It was this knock, this threat, that began the family’s journey out of the Bible Belt but never far from the hate and fear resting at the nation’s core.

Self-aware and intimate, A Girlhood asks us all to love better, not just for the sake of Hays’s child but for children everywhere enduring injustice and prejudice just as they begin to understand themselves. A Girlhood is a call to action, an ode to community, a plea for empathy, a hope for a better future. A Girlhood is a love letter to a child who has always known exactly who she is–and who is waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link where, if you choose to purchase via the link, DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

For more information about the resources Carolyn mentions in this episode please click here.

Link to Episode 437

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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