Inspired by an interview and memoir written by Kathleen Hill, BookTrib is hosting our first writing contest where anyone with a story to tell can write  for a chance to be a 2018 BookTrib Contributor.  Hill, who is also a professor of writing at Sarah Lawrence College will be judging the contest  along with Walt Gragg, author of The Red Line, and James R. Hannibal, author of The Fourth Ruby. We know many of you are looking forward to entering your work an need inspiration, but others, still, just want a list of recommended memoir to add to your collection. Here, we can oblige everyone with a list of suggested memoirs from Hill’s own personal collection along with her observations and recollections.

Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy

What if your face no longer looked like the one you recognized following repeated operations for cancer of the jaw? What if it was cancer diagnosed when you were just a child? This memoir gives you the writer’s response to that question.

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

This memoir chronicles a year of grief following the sudden death of Didion’s husband. The voice is even and understated, but the accumulation of felt-sorrow is tremendous.

Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama

We already know the writer but this memoir tells us a lot about his youthful determination to seek answers to the question of who he was, and how race and history combined to shape him.

 Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt

This unforgettable memoir follows a child growing up in Limerick, Ireland, in a family struggling with extreme poverty. But the story is charged with humor and an astonishing recall of the voices surrounding the child, of the world he knew.

Fun Home, Alison Bechdel 

A memoir told as a graphic novel and a family story all in one. Yes, it’s a family story like so many, but you’ll find the circumstances make it altogether unique.

The Color of Water, James McBride

“And when James asked what color God was, she said, God is the color of water.”

H Is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald 

The narrator is chronicling the period following her beloved father’s death. But as in many of the finest memoirs, she channels her feelings through a related story: a hawk she herself is training teaches her what she needs to find out.

Darkness Visible, William Styron

Darkness Visible by William Styron is a vivid and unsparing story of depression as well as a tribute to the people who were present to the narrator during his ordeal.

Survival in Auschwitz, Primo Levi

How did Primo Levi survive? A story that would seem unspeakable is told simply, almost matter of factly. Levi writes that his account furnishes “documentation for a quiet study of certain aspects of the human mind.”

A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s youth in Paris recalled in later years. Both joy and mourning transfuse the language that describes an era that is lost forever. In writing about it, he is there – and so are we.


Want to be a published writer? Enter our writing contest, where you could become a BookTrib Contributor! Deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018.

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