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Tag Archives: James Frey

Radio storytelling: When is a story just a story, and when do listeners expect more?

Jay Allison, who produces The Moth Radio Hour and founded Transom.org, once said, ”In public radio, our signature is story.”  He entered radio in the 1970s, from the theater. “I thought, ‘Wait a minute — it’s exactly the same, because it’s a medium in time.’ In order to hold attention (radio storytelling) must at least recognize theatrical values like [...]

Memoir’s truthy obligations: a handy how-to guide

How true does a memoir have to be? That question has been the basis of an ongoing debate kicked off by the revelation, five years ago, that much of James Frey’s bestselling “A Million Little Pieces” was made up. Unfortunately, it has never been adequately answered. Commentators have tended to gravitate to oversimplifications: one side asserting [...]

Death, truth and memoir: the debate over Joyce Carol Oates’ “A Widow’s Story”

What is it that we really want from memoir? The kerfuffle this week over “A Widow’s Story,” a narrative from Joyce Carol Oates about the loss of her husband and their many years together brings this question front and center again. Oates was married to Raymond J. Smith for nearly five decades; in addition to [...]

Mary Karr on truth: “the least of my problems as a memoirist, as a writer, is getting my facts right”

Author Mary Karr showed up Friday in Grapevine, Texas, in the middle of a thunderstorm to talk about telling the truth. The first keynote speaker at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, Karr addressed an after-dinner crowd of hundreds. Best known for “The Liars’ Club,” “Cherry” and “Lit,” she is also a Pushcart Prize-winning poet and [...]