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History Speakers Series Confronting History: Public Historians and Artists Reckon with the Past

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To Tell a Story: The Micro-Memoir with Bethany Groff Dorau

Join us on November 30 as we welcome writer and public historian Bethany Groff Dorau, who will examine and explore the art and purpose of short memoir or “micro-memoir” writing. The micro-memoir combines, according to Beth Ann Fennelly, “the extreme abbreviation of poetry, the narrative tension of fiction, and the truth-telling of creative nonfiction.” Most works are under 150 words. Exploring a moment, taking stock of a memory that does not have a clear message, teasing out the meaning of a gesture, a comment or an image that refuses to leave you even after years – these are the stuff of the micro-memoir.

Dorau, the only author ever to appear three times in the "Modern Love" column of the New York Times, twice for mico-memoir, will discuss the micro-memoir genre and relate her historical scholarship and writing to her evolving work as a memoirist. She will take participants through micro-memoir structure and process and illustrate some effective strategies for exploring our stories and memories. Dorau will then provide participants with a prompt and invite us to explore the genre ourselves. Sharing is optional but encouraged!

Bethany Groff Dorau has authored two books, is a primary contributor to the Defining Documents in American History Series and has published articles in the New York Times, New England Quarterly, the Encyclopedia of American History and Historic New England Magazine. North Shore Regional Site Administrator for Historic New England, based at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, Massachusetts, Dorau holds an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts and lives in West Newbury with her family.

When 5:30pm
Margo Shea

For access and accommodation information, visit our page on access or email

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