Episode 81: Why We Write About Ourselves – with Meredith Maran

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hi there Word Nerds! Thanks for joining me for today’s episode of DIY MFA Radio. Today I’m talking to Meredith Maran about her latest book: Why We Write About Ourselves.

Following up on her previous collection: Why We Write, Meredith’s most recent book is a collection of essays from memoirists, talking about why they write memoir in the first place. The lineup of authors featured in this book is a veritable who’s who of the memoir world, and the insights they share are no less awesome. Today I’m delighted to speak with Meredith and hear her take about writers love to write (and read) memoirs.

In this episode Meredith and I discuss:

  • Writing memoir and embellishing the truth
  • How our perspective changes over the course of our lives, but our writing stays constant
  • Pros and cons of being truly authentic in your writing
  • The writer’s responsibility to protect the innocent (or the guilty) in their writing

Plus, Meredith #1 tip for writers.

About Meredith Maran:

Meredith Maran is  a passionate reader and writer of memoirs, and the author of thirteen nonfiction books and the acclaimed 2012 novel, A Theory Of Small Earthquakes. Meredith writes book reviews, essays, and features for newspapers and magazines including People, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Salon.com, and More. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, Meredith lives in a restored historic bungalow in Los Angeles. Her next memoir, about starting over in Los Angeles, will be out from Blue Rider Press in 2017. To learn more about Meredith and her work, follow her on Facebook and Twitter or visit her website.

Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature is the follow-up to editor Meredith Maran’s last collection, Why We Write, this new book tackles one of the most popular literary genres: memoir. Meredith’s new book features some of its most-read authors, including Cheryl Strayed, Anne Lamott, Nick Flynn, Sue Monk Kidd, and James McBride. Contributors candidly disclose the origins of their memoirs: a traumatic experience, like Darin Strauss or Ishmael Beah; family relationships, like Sue Monk Kidd, Edwidge Danticat, or Pat Conroy; or simply a knack for personal storytelling, like Sandra Tsing Loh or Anne Lamott.

MMaran-Books

Link to Episode 81

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.

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  • KathyPooler

    I enjoyed this excellent interview about memoir, Gabi and Meredith. Your salient points about the memoir writing process resonate. For me ( I am a memoirist), a key question in jumpstarting my writing is “why am I writing this particular story?” Once I am connected to its purpose, the process flows. Thank you both for capturing the essence of memoir.

  • Donna Marie

    GREAT INTERVIEW! I love it and I am inspired to write. I was blah ah she speaks we as writer (my words but very very related) isolated life. ugh so now i feel after listening to this i got a pep talk along with many other things.

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