This is My Story: How to Write a Memoir (and Get it Published)

You have a great idea for a memoir, but you don’t know where to start or what to do next. There are so many options for book publishing, and no one seems to agree on the best way to go about it. Here’s some simple and sound advice on how to write a memoir, and the steps to take to get it published.

This guide will help you overcome the main obstacles and show you how to get your memoir published and in the hands of an audience who wants to read it.

Though memoir writing is a specific genre unto itself, writers who have produced well-known memoirs (some of which have become classics) are also known as novelists, short story writers, and poets. Here are some of the classic authors on this site who have at least one memoir to their credit. Read More→

7 Ideas For Stunning, Unique Home Libraries

Modern home library

Home libraries of many different styles are popular today. From classic traditional to retro, rustic to modern minimalist, myriad types and sizes of home book havens can be created. Yet there are major differences between these contemporary reading rooms and designs. Most often, there’s no need for a designated room for your home library.

You may choose a corner of a spacious area in an open-concept living room or den; even a cozy nook beneath a long staircase or floor-to-ceiling shelving in your office space works well. Libraries no long need doors or specially structured spaces. Read More→

Miranda Gay: Coming of Age in Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter

This introduction to Miranda Gay, a central character in of two of the three stories in Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939), is excerpted from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century Woman’s Novel  by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission.

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) is best known for her only novel, Ship of Fools, which she began writing in 1931 but only published in 1962. In addition to this magnum opus, she published only short stories, fewer than thirty, but which earned her a reputation as one of the twentieth century’s greatest stylists of short fiction.

Porter had a fascinating life: having been born in Texas, she married three husbands of various nationalities and lived in several countries, including Mexico, where many of her stories are set, and Bermuda where she began her stories about Miranda Gay, who is usually considered to be her alter ego and spokeswoman. Read More→

Caresse Crosby, Patron of the Literary Lost Generation

Caresse Crosby

Caresse Crosby (born Mary Phelps Jacob; April 20, 1892 – January 24, 1970) was known as a patron to the Lost Generation and other expatriate writers in Paris of the late 1920s. With her second husband, Harry Crosby, she founded Black Sun Press, publishing early works of writers who would have a lasting impact.

And in an offbeat yet impactful turn of events, in 1914, Crosby became the first person to receive a patent for the modern bra in 1914. The following appreciation of Crosby’s Paris years is excerpted from Everybody I Can Think of Ever: Meetings That Made the Avant-Garde by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission. Read More→

Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys (1934)

Voyage in the dark by Jean Rhys

This review and analysis of Voyage in the Dark, a 1934 novel by Jean Rhys, is excerpted from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century Woman’s Novel  by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission.

Jean Rhys (1890-1979) is best known for her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, a take on the Jane Eyre story from the point of view of the “madwoman in the attic,” Rochester’s wife, who, like Rhys, came from the Caribbean. It was finally published in book form in 1966 after years of tinkering and after a very long gap following her early novels, the first of which, Quartet, was published in 1928. Read More→

The Literary Friendship of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings & Zora Neale Hurston

The life she wished to live by Ann McCutchan

This musing on the friendship of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Zora Neale Hurston, two complex literary personalities, is excerpted and adapted from The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of “The Yearling,” © 2021 by Ann McCutchan. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

In the summer of 1942, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was invited to speak at historically Black Florida Memorial College in St. Augustine. One of the instructors that term was Zora Neale Hurston. At the time, Zora was completing her memoir, Dust Tracks on a Road, covering her childhood in Eatonville, Florida’s first all-black incorporated city. Read More→

May Sinclair, British Novelist, Philosopher, and Suffragist

May Sinclair

May Sinclair, (born Mary Amelia St. Clair Sinclair; August 24, 1863 – November 14, 1946) was a British novelist, philosopher, poet, and suffragist who was regarded as England’s “leading woman novelist between the death of George Eliot and the rise of Virginia Woolf,” according to David Williams, a critic who wrote for Punch.

She explored the inner lives of ordinary women in some twenty-three novels, while also publishing two works of philosophy, a biography of the Brontës, several collections of poetry, and dozens of short stories.

May Sinclair is largely forgotten today. All of her works had fallen out of print when Virago Press, the noted British feminist publishing house, reissued three of her most significant novels in the early 1980s. At present, however, only The Life and Death of Harriett Frean (1922), which many regard as her masterpiece, is in print. Read More→

Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer and the Birth of the Teenage Novel

Maureen Daly, American author of Seventeenth Summer, ca. 1950

Maureen Daly (1921 – 2006) was an Irish-Born American author and journalist, best known for the novel Seventeenth Summer (1942). Though twenty-one at the time of its publication, she wrote it while in her teens. Originally intended it for adult readers, it drew an enthusiastic audience of teens, and as such, is considered one of the early entries into the genre of Young Adult fiction. This appreciation of Seventeenth Summer is excerpted from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century Woman’s Novel  by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission.

The rise of the teenager in the 1940s was accompanied by the rise of the teenage novel: novels written for and about – and even by – teenage girls. The 1940s and 50s saw several series of books by female authors about girls in their “seventeenth summer,” intended to be read by girls of around that age or younger; the exact demographic for the Sub-Deb columns in teen magazines and Betty Cornell’s advice columns. Read More→