Jenn Shapland with Jeannie Vanasco
We were among the early admirers of Jenn Shapland's extraordinary book, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: a Memoir (Tin House), which was named a finalist for the National Book Award and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. She joins us tonight (virtually) in conversation with Jeannie Vanasco.
"You do not need to be a queer woman, a lover of Carson McCuller's fiction, or interested in the mysterious junctures between our own lives and those of our favorite artists to love this book, but for those of us who are those things, Jenn Shapland's memoir is a particular trove of delights. My favorite biographies are full of historical literary gossip and interested in the shadow selves of public persons. My favorite memoirs are those that scrutinize the self as an unreliable source of narrative truth and the one we must nonetheless rely upon. My Autobiography of Carson McCullers manages to do all of this in earnest and honest and riveting vignettes. It is a detective story and a dissection of selfhood, a puzzle every piece of which pleased me as it clicked into place."— Melissa Febos.
Jenn Shapland lives in New Mexico, won the 2019 Rabkin Foundation Award for art journalism, and has a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin. Jeannie Vanasco is the author of the memoirs Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl and The Glass Eye. Her writing has appeared in The Believer, Literary Hub, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Baltimore.