One of the questions about memoir we hear most often at the Amsterdam Writing Workshops is: How much freedom do we have to invent? Is “making things up” in this kind of narrative the same as lying? Consider what the accomplished memoirist Vivian Gornick has to say.

Memoir: Why Has It Become So Popular?

“The first frankly confessional writing in American literature seems to have been F. Scott Fitzgerald’s painfully candid “The Crack-Up.” This is memoir in the guise of self-abnegation and exposure. Fitzgerald was a Catholic, and perhaps it is a Catholic gesture of ‘confession’—in this case openly, lavishly. Then, in the late 1950s and 1960s American poetry… Read more

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