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Mary Karr, Remembering The Years She Spent 'Lit'

The Liar's Club, Mary Karr's memoir about her hardscrabble childhood in Texas, was named one of the best books of 1995. In her new book, Lit, Karr details her early adult years and her struggles with alcohol, depression and motherhood.


Edwidge Danticat, Dealing with Birth and Death

Haitian-born writer Edwidge Danticat's memoir Brother, I'm Dying details the complicated emotions surrounding the deaths of her father and uncle — and the birth of her daughter — all in the same year.

Danticat's uncle raised her in Haiti until age 12, when she moved to New York to live with her immigrant parents.

Danticat is the author of a number of novels, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, as well as the short-story collection Krik? Krak!.


Poet and memoirist Mary Karr.

Poet and memoirist Mary Karr. Author of the best selling Liar’s Club, she has just published a new book chronicling her teen age years entitled “Cherry” (Penguin Putnam, 2000). In a follow up to what critics call “a hard scrabble childhood,” she returns to East Texas to detail her adolescence. Karr relates anecdotes of rebellion, self doubt and sexual coming of age. The recipient of several literary awards such as the Pushcart Prize and the Bunting Award, she has published two volumes of poetry. She is the Peck Professor of English Literature at Syracuse University.


Dave Eggers Discusses His "Genius" Memoir.

Writer and editor Dave Eggers. He’s the founder of the now-defunct cynical, satirical literary magazine, “Might” and the current editor of the literary journal “McSweeney’s.” He’s written a memoir (“based on a true story”) about being left to raise his 8 year old brother, after both his parents died. Eggers was 21 at the time. It’s called, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” (Simon & Schuster).


The Appeal of the Memoir.

Historian Jill Ker Conway. She's the author of the bestselling memoir, "The Road from Coorain," about growing up in the Australian outback. Conway also edited two volumes of women's memoirs "Written By Herself" (Volumes I and II) which were, in part, about the nature of autobiography written by women. Her new book is "When Memory Speaks: Reflections on Autobiography." (Knopf) Conway was the first female vice president of The University of Toronto, and from 1975 to 1985 was the president of Smith.


"A Daughter's Search for Her Father."

Writer Mary Gordon. Her new memoir, "The Shadow Man: A Daughter's Search for Her Father" (Random House), is about her research into her father's past. Gordon's father died when she was seven. Gordon has written several bestselling novels, including "Final Payments" and "The Company of Women."


Writer Ved Mehta Says "All Memory, By Definition, Is Current"

A childhood bout with meningitis left New Yorker staff writer Ved Mehta blind. Born in India, he moved to Bombay, then Arkansas, to attend schools for the blind. He joins Fresh Air to discuss how he navigates the world as a blind person, his career in publishing, and the importance of memory to his writing and everyday life.


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