As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize what she was actually trying to write: how this affected her relationship with her mother. When it was finally published, the essay went viral, shared on social media by Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. The outpouring of responses gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers.
While some of the writers in this book are estranged from their mothers, others are extremely close. Leslie Jamison writes about trying to discover who her seemingly perfect mother was before ever becoming a mom. In Cathi Hanauer’s hilarious piece, she finally gets a chance to have a conversation with her mother that isn’t interrupted by her domineering (but lovable) father. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything.
As Filgate writes, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them.” There’s relief in breaking the silence. Acknowledging what we couldn’t say for so long is one way to heal our relationships with others and, perhaps most important, with ourselves.
Contributors include Cathi Hanauer, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, Dylan Landis, Bernice L. McFadden, Julianna Baggott, Lynn Steger Strong, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, André Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison.
Michele Filgate is a contributing editor at Literary Hub and the editor of an anthology based on her Longreads essay, What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster on April 30, 2019. Currently, she is an M.F.A. student at NYU, where she is the recipient of the Stein Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Longreads, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Refinery29, Slice, The Paris Review Daily, Tin House, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, Salon, Interview Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Barnes & Noble Review, Poets & Writers, CNN.com, Fine Books & Collections Magazine, DAME Magazine, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Time Out New York, People, The Daily Beast, O, The Oprah Magazine, Men's Journal, Vulture, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Star Tribune, The Quarterly Conversation, The Brooklyn Rail, and other publications. She teaches creative nonfiction for The Sackett Street Writers' Workshop, Catapult, and Stanford Continuing Studies and is the founder of the Red Ink series. In 2016, Brooklyn Magazine named her one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture." She’s a former board member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Cathi Hanauer is the author of three novels, Gone (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2012), Sweet Ruin (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2006), and My Sister's Bones(Delacorte, 1996), and the editor of the # 10 New York Times bestselling essay collection The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2002), which was called out in Deborah Felder's A Bookshelf of Our Own: Must-Reads for Women along with works by Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Grace Paley, Betty Friedan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cynthia Ozick, Toni Morrison, and Susan Faludi. She has written articles, essays, and/or reviews for The New York Times, Elle, O, Self, Glamour, Whole Living, Mademoiselle, Parenting, Child, Redbook, and other magazines; she was the monthly books columnist for both Glamour and Mademoiselle and wrote the monthly advice column "Relating" in Seventeen for seven years. She has taught writing at The New School, in New York, and at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, as well as privately. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband, writer and New York Times 'Modern Love' editor Daniel Jones, and their daughter and son.
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 7:00pm
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