In the forty years since the publication of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, writers, particularly in the United States, have been working to represent their lives in memoir, to bring to the cultural conversation a diversity of lived experience that is truly remarkable.
But still I meet writers who insist they don’t want to write “just a memoir.”
As the tradition enters its fifth decade, it seems important to explore how craft and consciousness of time and place assure that no memoir is “merely personal.”
Memory drives memoir, but it can take writing to realize that while we thought we were just living, history was unfolding.
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