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July Third Thursday: WLT On the Craft of Writing: Personal Essays

July 20, 2023 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM CDT

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WLT hosts On the Craft of Writing talks a few times a year, partnering with an indie bookstore or other community organization, featuring authors discussing their craft in relation to their newest releases.

“Faliveno is an excellent essayist, expertly braiding seemingly disparate threads into engrossing and funny explorations of self and society…The theme of violence intertwined with fear, love and reverence for place and created family propels Tomboyland into captivating territory. On the surface, its beautiful prose belies the darker complexities it scrapes at, making it all the more gratifying to read.” —The Washington Post

“Krys Malcolm Belc’s singular memoir-in-essays traces how his experiences conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding a child helped to clarify his gender identity . . . ‘motherhood’ doesn’t describe Belc’s own experience of pregnancy and parenting. The Natural Mother of the Child attempts to bridge that gap, offering an alternative interpretation of what it means to grow a family.” —Keely Weiss, Harper’s Bazaar, A Best LGBT Book of the Year

In July, we’ll be joined by essayists Krys Malcolm Belc and Melissa Faliveno to discuss the craft of writing personal essays through the lens of their essay collections.

The personal essay is a form that requires vulnerability, research, meaning-making, and perspective from writers. It can be daunting for many, but the urge to tell our stories and to share them – in a way that not only informs the world of our experiences and where we’ve come from, but of what it all means and where we might go from here – is one that keeps the essay form alive and ever-changing.

For our July Third Thursday, we’ll explore all of this and more with two accomplished essayists – Krys Malcolm Belc and Melissa Faliveno – by discussing their approaches to essay writing and how they’ve accomplished telling their stories in essays. Whether you’re an essayist or a memoirist or both, this conversation will delve into what it takes to write from personal experience and how to make meaning out of it all.

If you have questions about the craft of writing personal essays, please consider sharing them with us ahead of time – you can fill out this simple Google form. We’ll also leave time for questions during the event.

We’re encouraging all attendees to read one essay by each of our featured authors. These essays are excerpts from their collections will be referenced during the conversation. Here are links to “The Landscape That Made Me” by Melissa Faliveno and “The Natural Mother of the Child” by Krys Malcom Belc.


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Buy our panelists books and support indie bookstores! You can find our July Third Thursday booklist here.

RSVP to receive your link to the live webinar. 

Featured Presenter(s)

Krys Malcolm Belc is the author of The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood, named one of the “Best LGBT Books of the Year” by Harper’s Bazaar and an NPR “Books We Love” pick, and In Transit, a chapbook of flash nonfiction. Krys is the memoir editor of Split Lip Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner and their four young children.  
Melissa Faliveno is the author of the essay collection TOMBOYLAND, named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR, New York Public Library, Oprah Magazine, and Electric Literature, and recipient of a 2021 Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her work has appeared in EsquireParis ReviewBitchLit Hub, and Brooklyn Rail, among others; received a notable selection in Best American Essays; and appears in the anthology Sex and the Single Woman: 24 Writers Reimgaine Helen Gurley Brown’s Cult Classic (Harper Perennial, 2022). The former senior editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, she has taught creative writing at Kenyon College, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, and Sarah Lawrence College, where she earned an MFA. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Denison University and on the MFA faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts. www.melissafaliveno.com


July 20, 2023
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM CDT
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Online via Zoom