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Roundtable Discussion–Free for All
June 5, 2014

4 PM PDT   5 PM MDT   6 PM CDT   7 PM EDT


Jill Smolowe has written two memoirs that depart from common wisdom about her subject matter. The first, An Empty Lap, ignited discussion in the adoption world about the stresses marriages endure when couples, out of sync about whether to have kids, delay starting a family. Her new memoir, Four Funerals and a Wedding, steers clear of the usual how-my-life-came-apart grief script to explore what kept her going as she lost her husband and three other loved ones in rapid succession. With both memoirs, Jill invited criticism of not only the literary variety, but the personal as well. On June 5, Jill and Linda Joy will explore what propels a writer to go against the tide—and how to find insulation from the personal attacks that can result.

Four Funerals_Rev 2.indd

• When is it worth infringing your privacy to put intimate details about your life in the public domain?
• What is the importance of identifying the lens through which you will tell you story?
• Why focus a lens in your work that invites criticism from readers?
• What is the importance of having a message? How does it guide your storytelling choices?
• Given privacy considerations, what obligations do you have to others who appear in your story?
• Is catharsis a goal? How does that differ from Aha moments?

Jill Smolowe is the author of the memoirs Four Funerals and a Wedding: Resilience in a Time of Grief and An Empty Lap: One Couple’s Journey to Parenthood, and co-editor of the anthology A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents. An award-winning journalist, she has been a foreign affairs writer for Time and Newsweek, and a senior writer for People, where she currently specializes in crime stories. Her articles and essays have appeared in many publications and anthologies, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Washington Post Magazine, More, Red (UK), Adoptive Families and the Reader’s Digest “Today’s Best NonFiction” series.

Visit Jill at www.jillsmolowe.com and facebook.com/jillsmolowe.author


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