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LAT FOB: Memoirs with a Twist Panel

There were about three memoir panels at the festival this year. It’s a very popular genre, apparently. Tickets for all panels, according to the super helpful and adorable information volunteers, were completely sold out. Sure, tickets were free – er $.75 through Ticketmaster – but still, nice turn out. All the panels were packed. Some with long lines of stand-bys.

Moderating this panel was Erika Schickel. Panelists included Gustavo Arellano of Ask a Mexican fame, Chris Ayers, Marion Winik and The Love Junkie, Rachel Resnick.

Ayers, author of War Reporting for Cowards, began by saying that he was the Hollywood correspondent for the London Times who was in Iraq for a whopping nine days, “I have the distinction of being the first journalist to desert the troops I was embedded with.” Ayers moved to LA got by his own admission a million dollar loan and a Range Rover on easy credit in 2006. “All writers do that. If something terrible happens to you, you think ‘I can write about this’.” And that was the basis for his latest book Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale. The amazing part of the book was the timing. Ayers explained,”Events started to catch up to me.”

Resnick, an editor at Tin House Magazine, USC creative writing teacher and brutally candid memoirist said of her book, Love Junkie, “I wish I had a damn book like this [to read] when I was younger.”

There was some disagreement as to whether as a creative non-fiction genre writers should inform people that they are writing about them. Winik, who has an article on the subject that will run in the LAT in a couple of weeks said, “Every person that you are writing about, you should let them read it.” One of Winik’s books was a collection of 50 eulogies from people she has known through out her life. Three hundred words about 50 people.

Resnick disagreed and said she wasn’t aware of such a hard fast ethic. She admitted that because of her book (that will be going paperback in the fall) her father chose not to talk to her for two years.

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