CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium presents: MemoirFest

May 12, 2012
9:00 amto4:00 pm

Gerlinger Hall
Alumni Lounge
1468 University
UO campus map

MemoirFest program
You’re invited to MemoirFest, an all-day symposium on women writers and memoir. MemoirFest will feature presentations and panel discussions by Debra Gwartney, Crystal Williams, Lidia Yuknavitch, Lauren Kessler, Margarita Donnelly, Elizabeth Reis, and Dominick Vetri. Registered participants are invited to take part in roundtable discussions with the panelists on all aspects of memoir.

MemoirFest is free and open to the public.

MemoirFest is the inaugural project of  the Women Writers Research Interest Group (RIG) at the Center for the Study of Women and Society at UO. The centerpiece will be an annual Women Writers Symposium exploring the work of contemporary women writers, with a focus on the Pacific Northwest, and featuring dynamic conversations with authors, scholars, editors, and publishers.

Morning panelists:
  • Debra Gwartney (Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir), is a member of the nonfiction faculty for Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program. Her memoir, published in 2009, was a finalist for an Oregon Book Award, PNBA Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • Crystal Williams (Lunatic, Troubled Tongues, Kin), is dean for Institutional Diversity & associate professor of creative writing at Reed College. She is the author of three collections of poems, most recently Troubled Tongues, winner of the 2009 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Prize, finalist for the 2009 Oregon Book Award, and shortlisted for the Idaho Prize. Raised in Detroit, Michigan and Madrid, Spain, she has just completed a fourth collection of poems, titled Walking The Cemetery: Detroit Poems. Interview
  • Lidia Yuknavitch (The Chronology of Water) teaches English at Mount Hood Community College. Her memoir is the winner of a 2012 PNBA Award and is a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
Afternoon panelists:
  • Margarita Donnelly is the founding editor of Calyx, an independent, nonprofit publisher of contemporary writing and art by women. CALYX, Inc. includes CALYX, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women (published biannually) and CALYX Books. She co-edited A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-five Years of Women’s Poetry (Calyx Books, 2002). Currently she serves on the Calyx board and teaches memoir writing.
  • Lauren Kessler is professor & director of the Multimedia Journalism master’s program, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. She is the author of twelve books, including seven works of narrative nonfiction. Using a combination of immersion reportage and deep research, she has tackled subjects as diverse as 21st century teen girl culture (My Teenage Werewolf) and Alzheimer’s (Pacific Northwest Book Award winner Dancing with Rose). She is the author of Oregon Book Award winner Stubborn Twig; Clever Girl; The Happy Bottom Riding Club, and Full Court Press, as well as The Dissident Press, a history of alternative journalism, and three textbooks.
  • Elizabeth Reis is an associate professor in the UO Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She edited the memoir Dear Lizzie: Memoir of a Jewish Immigrant Woman and is the author of Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex and Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England.
  • Dominick Vetri is professor emeritus in the UO School of Law. He is a specialist in torts, product liability, rights of privacy, gay and lesbian civil rights, and art law.

Sponsored by the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, Women Writers RIG; the Oregon Humanities Center; School of Journalism and Communication; UO Libraries; and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

A note about lunch: At the EMU across the street, several food venues are open on Saturday. Along 13th Avenue, a short walk from Gerlinger, many small restaurants are available. Or, you can bring your own.

A fun link on truth, memoir and essay:

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Truth in Nonfiction But Were Afraid to Ask: A Bad Advice Cartoon Essay