Handling the Truth

On the Writing of Memoir

By Beth Kephart
Gotham Books, Paperback, 9781592408153, 254pp.

Publication Date: August 6, 2013

List Price: $16.00*
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Description
In the tradition of Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird," a critically acclaimed National Book Award finalist shares inspiration and practical advice for writing a memoir.
Writing memoir is a deeply personal, and consequential, undertaking. As the acclaimed author of five memoirs spanning significant turning points in her life, Beth Kephart has been both blessed and bruised by the genre. In "Handling the Truth," she thinks out loud about the form--on how it gets made, on what it means to make it, on the searing language of truth, on the thin line between remembering and imagining, and, finally, on the rights of memoirists. Drawing on proven writing lessons and classic examples, on the work of her students and on her own memories of weather, landscape, color, and love, Kephart probes the wrenching and essential questions that lie at the heart of memoir.
A beautifully written work in its own right, "Handling the Truth" is Kephart's memoir-writing guide for those who read or seek to write the truth.



About the Author
Beth Kephart was nominated for a National Book Award for her memoir A Slant of Sun. Her first novel for teens, Undercover, received four starred reviews and was named a Best Book by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Amazon.com. In 2005 Beth was awarded the Speakeasy Poetry Prize. She has also written Into the Tangle of Friendship: A Memoir of the Things That Matter; Still Love in Strange Places: A Memoir; Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self; Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River; Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business; and House of Dance. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.



Praise For Handling the Truth

 “Generous, intelligent and genuinely insightful.”
Kirkus Review, Starred Review
 
 “Kephart…has composed a gorgeous meditation on memoir. . . . she has created a work of art simply by reflecting on her own art—the writing and teaching of memoir. . . . She writes with the same lyricism found in her own works and offers here passionate encouragement for would-be memoir writers to embrace truth and empathy, mystery and exploration. . . . Highly recommended for anyone interested in the anatomy of a successful memoir and for all writers of literary nonfiction.”
Library Journal, Starred Review
 
“Not a memoir proper, this book fits nicely with the others on this list because it’s about writing memoir. Kephart has penned five.... She’s also mastered the fiction and essay forms and currently teaches memoir writing at the University of Pennsylvania, so she’s got the skills to explain every facet of the writing process, including that crucial issue for memoirists: where does imaginative shaping stop and disregard for truth begin.”
Library Journal, Prepub Alert

"A marvelous primer for anyone who would dare to face the furies and write about his or her life. Beth Kephart has read the genre closely, put her own feet to the fire, and distilled the form with all the passion of a great teacher." 
—Marie Arana, author of the National Book Award finalist American Chica.
 
“With infectious passion and hard-won wisdom, Beth Kephart eloquently celebrates the rigors and rewards of the creative process and – equally necessary – the art of crafting a meaningful life.  Part memoir and part memoirist’s manifesto, this small, urgent book inspires on many levels.  Read it and learn how to tell your story.  Better yet, read it and begin to understand why your story matters.” 
—Katrina Kenison, author of Magical Journey:  An Apprenticeship in Contentment 
 
“Beth Kephart has done something extraordinary with this huge and messy thing called memoir—roping it into submission with her typically beautifully writing. There is authority here, scholarship, challenge. In this well-organized book, every example is a precious stone to turn over and to learn from, particularly in terms of crafting a voice and finding one's way in. Too many students think memoir just happens. Nothing ever just happens. Memoir is an academic field. This should become the seminal text.”
—Buzz Bissinger, author of Father's Day, A Prayer for the City, and Friday Night Lights

“Not a memoir proper, this book fits nicely with the others on this list because it’s about writing memoir. Kephart has penned five.... She’s also mastered the fiction and essay forms and currently teaches memoir writing at the University of Pennsylvania, so she’s got the skills to explain every facet of the writing process, including that crucial issue for memoirists: where does imaginative shaping stop and disregard for truth begin.”
 —Library Journal, Nonfiction Previews for August 2013

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