Leslie Jamison Craft of Creative Nonfiction—Compassion and Confession

Slonim Living Room / Stone Room

Open to the public

/ Thursday


Leslie Jamison will discuss her work as a writer who brings together personal, critical, and journalistic approaches, who writes her own life alongside the lives of others. She will discuss writing about a variety of subjects, including long distance runners, prison inmates, whale fanatics, and medical patients. What are the moral complexities of writing other peoples’ lives? She will discuss the obligations a writer might feel towards her subjects—the interplay between guilt and affection, between care and skepticism. What does it mean to confess the self—in all its quandaries and questions—inside a piece of reportage? How does a piece work differently when it includes reported material alongside deeply personal reflections—when we sense the reporter as a deeply emotional and subjective presence with a story of her own?

Leslie Jamison is the author of The Recovering and The Empathy Exams, both New York Times bestsellers, as well as a novel, The Gin Closet. Her work has appeared in Harper's, The Atlantic, Oxford American, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The New York Times Magazine, where she is a contributing writer. She directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University.