In 1978, John Gardner published On Moral Fiction. It’s a complex and occasionally wrong-headed book, but Gardner’s central question–how can fiction improve our lives?–is one that yields all kinds of interesting results when we apply it to the memoir. We’ll talk about the larger purpose of memoir, as well as moral questions that arise for the memoirist in the process of writing.
About Claire Dederer
Claire Dederer is the author of two critically acclaimed memoirs: Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning and Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, which was a New York Times bestseller. Poser has been translated into 11 languages, optioned for television by Warner Bros., and adapted for the stage.
Dederer is at work on Monsters, a nonfiction book investigating good art made by bad people, forthcoming from Knopf. The book is based on her 2017 essay for the Paris Review, “What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?” The essay went globally viral, was a Longform best essay of the year, and has repeatedly been cited as one of the most influential and insightful pieces of writing on the Me Too movement to date.
Dederer is a long-time contributor to The New York Times. Her essays, criticism, and reviews have also appeared in The Paris Review, The Atlantic, The Nation, Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle, Real Simple, Entertainment Weekly, New York magazine, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Slate, Salon, High Country News, and many other publications. Her essays have appeared in numerous anthologies, most recently Labor Day. Dederer began her career as the chief film critic for Seattle Weekly. She has taught at Hugo House and the University of Washington, as well as residencies, workshops, conferences, MFA programs, and universities across the country. She currently teaches at the Pacific University low residency MFA Program.
She is the recipient of a Hedgebrook residency and a Lannan Foundation residency.
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