Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative (Paperback)

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Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative (Paperback)


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Memoir meets craft masterclass in this “daring, honest, psychologically insightful” exploration of how we think and write about intimate experiences—“a must read for anybody shoving a pen across paper or staring into a screen or a past" (Mary Karr)

In this bold and exhilarating mix of memoir and master class, Melissa Febos tackles the emotional, psychological, and physical work of writing intimately while offering an utterly fresh examination of the storyteller’s life and the questions which run through it.
How might we go about capturing on the page the relationships that have formed us? How do we write about our bodies, their desires and traumas? What does it mean for an author’s way of writing, or living, to be dismissed as “navel-gazing”—or else hailed as “so brave, so raw”? And to whom, in the end, do our most intimate stories belong?
Drawing on her own path from aspiring writer to acclaimed author and writing professor—via addiction and recovery, sex work and academia—Melissa Febos has created a captivating guide to the writing life, and a brilliantly unusual exploration of subjectivity, privacy, and the power of divulgence. Candid and inspiring, Body Work will empower readers and writers alike, offering ideas—and occasional notes of caution—to anyone who has ever hoped to see themselves in a story.
Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir Whip Smart; Abandon Me, a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist and Publishing Triangle Award finalist; Girlhood, a national bestseller and National Book Critics Circle finalist; and the forthcoming Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. A recipient of the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary and of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, Bread Loaf, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The BAU Institute, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Foundation, and others; her essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The Believer, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Granta, The Yale Review, Tin House, The Sun, New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine. She is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program. 
Product Details ISBN: 9781646220854
ISBN-10: 1646220854
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: March 15th, 2022
Pages: 192
Language: English
Named a Most Anticipated Book by Bustle, Marie Claire, Glamour UK, Autostraddle, NET-A-PORTER, AnOther Magazine, Electric Literature, Lit Hub, and The Millions

“Piercing . . . Prepare to rave about this book to everyone you've ever met, seriously." —Lucy Morgan, Glamour UK, A Most Anticipated Book

“Whip-smart . . . Shrewd takes on the intersection of craft and life . . . This is a wonder.” —Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)

"Crucial . . . Sharp insights from a passionate practitioner and champion of memoir." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A book for both writers and readers who feel like their bodies are telling stories . . . Wide-ranging in its theoretical and historical breadth yet intimate in all ways, Febos’s book offers the tools readers need to identify, access, process, and articulate hard-won stories of trauma and of love that their flesh holds." —Library Journal (starred review)

“Melissa Febos has written one of the most liberating books on the subject of writing that I can think of. A tender, urgent intelligence, a wisdom that is hard-won, and a rigor born from a love for the craft preside . . . I learned so much reading Body Work that I can’t wait to teach and use on the page.” —Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

"Melissa Febos’s Body Work is the most necessary book about memoir I’ve read. Daring, honest, psychologically insightful, and absolutely whip smart. A must read for anybody shoving a pen across paper or staring into a screen or a past." —Mary Karr, author of The Liars' Club and The Art of Memoir 

"Ferociously smart and piercingly insightful, Body Work is an instant classic of the how-and-why-do-we-write form. With candor and clarity, Melissa Febos explores the complexities of writing courageously and honestly about our lives. It’s a book I’ll return to again and again.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Brave Enough and Wild