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Getting into Trouble & Getting out of It: Writing a Book-Length Memoir

March 15, 2016 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm


Reading and Discussion
with Laura Didyk, Joyce Hayden, and Emma Smith-Stevens

Once you embark on the writing of a memoir, at some point you will likely find yourself in some trouble—writing trouble, that is. You may have questions about form, structure, and personal content. You may begin to doubt your ability, your story, and your stamina. The workshop leaders will read from their memoirs-in-progress and discuss how they’ve gotten into trouble, and how they’ve gotten out of it. Note: Reading will include adult subject matter not suitable for children.

LauraDidykLaura Didyk’s memoir, The Middle of Everywhere, chronicles her upbringing in the hills of Northern California as a child of parents who met under the influence of the 1960s. A serious gymnast in her teens, by her late twenties she is a seriously depressed alcoholic. But with the determination of the athlete she once was, Laura allows her life to be transformed by addiction and depression into a truly awakened life. Laura’s poetry and nonfiction have been published in Diagram, Post Road, Alligator Juniper, and The Sun, among others. With an MFA from the University of Alabama, she has been a writing fellow at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

JoyceHayden_DidykGettingIntoJoyce Hayden’s memoir, The Out Of Body Girl, focuses on the last months of a harrowing relationship with an abusive partner, after they have moved to “The Land of Enchantment” to start over. Having endured childhood and adult trauma by dissociating from reality, Joyce must learn to re-claim her body if she intends to survive. Joyce holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has taught writing at Westfield State University and her work has been published in several journals including Cimarron Review, Sanctuary, and Rappahannock Review.

esmithstevens_DidykGettingIntoFuture Ghost depicts Emma Smith-Stevens’ struggle with severe mental illness set against the backdrop of NYC in the 1990s. After dropping out of school at age 13, she cycled through psychiatric hospitalizations, drug abuse, and trauma. At age 19, she was kicked out of a South Florida rehab–homeless and alone. A desire to survive was ignited in her, leading her toward help, health, and continuing evolution. Emma’s writing has been published in Subtropics, Conjunctions, Joyland, The Collagist, Painted Bride Quarterly, Amazon’s literary journal Little A, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of Bard College and the University of Florida’s MFA program in creative writing.


March 15, 2016
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Berkshire Festival of Women Writers


Berkshire Community College, South County Center
343 Main Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230 United States
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