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Augusten Burroughs Talks With Haven Kimmel, Plus Marianne Gingher — This Week in N.C.

April 8, 2009

I’m teaching a Creative Nonfiction workshop at George Mason University this semester, and while Augusten Burroughs isn’t on the syllabus, he still finds his way into discussions occasionally, and one of my students was toting around a Burroughs title just a week or so ago, reading it on her own initiative. We don’t need that tidbit to recognize the author’s stunning popularity, of course, but that interest does make me wish that I could recommend an event in North Carolina to my students in Virginia — a chance to see and hear one of the leading, and in many ways one of the most controversial, writers of memoir today. 

Burroughs visits Durham this week on tour with the paperback release of his latest book, A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father. He’ll join Durham-based author Haven Kimmel, whose first book was the memoir A Girl Named Zippy, for an evening of conversation at the Carolina Theatre, 309 West Morgan Street, on Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Durham Country Public Library and the Regulator Bookshop, and the Regulator urges that people wanting to get books signed should buy at least one from the store either before or at the event. (Support your local independent bookstore!)

While Burroughs surely elicits a wide range of responses from readers — my fiancée Tara was visibly annoyed when we watched an interview with him on CBS Sunday Morning — he’s undeniably doing something that engages readers and sparks discussions about reading, and you can expect a lively talk ahead in Thursday night.

Also noteworthy on this week’s calendar, another event for writers and readers alike: Marianne Gingher appears at McIntyre’s Books on Saturday, April 11, to discuss Adventures in Pen Land: One Writer’s Journey From Inklings to Ink, a memoir that promises insight into and advice for the writing life. To hear more about the collection, listen in on Frank Stasio’s talk with Gingher, broadcast earlier this year on WUNC.

And as always, check out the MetroBooks calendar to your right for a fuller listing of upcoming events in the Triangle and throughout Eastern North Carolina.

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2 comments

  1. Burroughs’ book Dry, was one of my favorite books. It seemed much more real than the others. Obviously, memorists are going to fictionalize to sell books. This is entertainment after all. Why was Tara annoyed by Burroughs on 60 Minutes?


    • Thanks for the note, Mark — and for the question about Tara’s response. Part of it stems from the fact that she’s not a fan of the memoir to begin with, particularly what’s come to be that niche of memoirs about abuse or addiction or…. But the segment of that interview that really seemed to get her (and it was CBS Sunday Morning, not 60 Minutes, though he may have been on that show too) was when there was the discussion about memoirs that turned out to be novels (James Frey, etc.) and then the questions about the lawsuits against Burroughs after Running with Scissors and the fact that he changed his own description of that book in his author’s note from “memoir” to, simply, “book” — and then his admission that parts of the latest book may not have happened, specifically his memory of his father chasing him through the woods…. I think it’s that blurred line between fact and fiction — and what sometimes seems like various authors’ disregard for that line — that sort-of gets to her….. Still, she likes Sedaris, and there was a great article (in New Republic as I recall) that showed how much he elaborates and even fabricates stories, so……



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