A Memoir Manifesto

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Over at the impressive online magazine Guernica, Deb Olin Unferth’s “Memoir Manifesto” is an inspiring rejoinder to Neil Genzlinger’s recent assault on memoir (detailed here).

Unferth makes a compelling case for the splintering of autobiography into memoir over the past few decades, and hails the best examples of contemporary memoir – she cites Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family (1982), Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life (1989), and Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club (1995) – as “some of the most exciting, innovative, and moving writing of the twenty-first century”.

At the bottom of the manifesto are links to a handful of memoir pieces Unferth has selected to publish in the magazine as examples that “explore memoir in a decidedly contemporary manner, while at the same time showing an understanding of the past tradition.”

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