Camp for Writers

What happens when you get a bunch of CNF writers together at HippoCamp, a writers conference hosted by Hippocampus Magazine and held in beautiful Lancaster, PA? Lots and lots of personal stories.

As a first-time “HippoCamper", as conference attendees are called, the highlights of my weekend were reading alongside five other debut authors on the first night, sharing my thoughts on magical realism in creative nonfiction, and…

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Finding Family

Stories of family are the primary ones of our lives. My memoir has helped me connect to my own family (see the photo of my dad reading it) and has introduced me to stories of other people’s families, often just as (or more) complex than mine.

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3 Months of Believing

Looking back over the past three months, I realize I’ve learned a few things through the readings and talks at bookstore and libraries, the panels at Wordplay, the online attention and podcast interviews, and both the kind and harsh reviews. Here’s my 10 life lessons, some of which may seem trite or saccharine, but, as a nonfiction writer, I can promise that they’re all true.

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Wordplay

What an honor and joy to be part of the Loft Literary Center’s first annual Wordplay book festival as not only an author but also as a Loft board member. The two-day festival, which kicked off at First Ave with a concert by the Rock Bottom Remainders, had over 10,000 visitors and featured over 100 authors.

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Learning from Students

As the first judge of the Davenport Prize in Nonfiction at Knox College, it was an honor to read students’ work and meet with them one-on-one. I read essays about odd jobs, trips abroad, mothers, and hometowns. I read gorgeous prose and saw experimental structures. I also had the opportunity to hear about where these students’ ideas come from, what their future plans are, and where they seem themselves in the writing landscape.

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It's My Book Birthday

I took my first writing class over fifteen years ago. I practiced and learned and began to tell a few true stories. And, slowly, groping in the dark, I wrote a memoir. But then, after some publications, a couple awards and grants, the manuscript stalled out. “Memoir is hard,” the agents and editors told me. So, it feels like nothing short of a miracle that someone wanted to publish this book.

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