Even though Mary Karr has called memoir “a bastard,” and “an ugly little genre,” she’s also its biggest defender and champion. This interview, which kicks off the third year of Write-minded, covers some of the big topics that weigh on memoirists’ minds about truth and whether to fictionalize, as well as the importance of sensory details and why memoir is so popular despite its complex reputation. And since we reference Brooke’s 2015 onstage interview with Mary, we’re enclosing the link here, just in case, like us, you wish you could spend a little more time listening to Mary: https://youtu.be/PfdQutk506A


Karr is an award-winning poet, essayist, songwriter, and memoirist from East Texas. She’s the author of The Liars’ Club, which documented her hardscrabble Texas childhood, and as well as Cherry and Lit. She has written five critically acclaimed poetry collections, including her most recent, Tropic of Squalor. She is also the author of the bestselling The Art of Memoir, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry magazine. Karr is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University and lives in New York City. More about Mary at: www.marykarr.com.

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