Boston Book Festival 2020 Boston Book Festival 2020

Memoir: Secrets, Lies, and the Mysteries of Our Youth [pre-recorded]

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Betsy Bonner
The Book of Atlantis Black

Betsy Bonner is a writer and poet with work appearing in the New Republic, the Paris Review, Parnassus, Poetry Daily, the Brooklyn Quarterly, and the Southampton Review, among other publications. Her poetry collection, Round Lake, was published by Four Way Books in 2016. She is a faculty member of the Writer’s Foundry MFA program at St. Joseph’s College (Brooklyn), the former director of the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center, where she teaches an annual poetry seminar, a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, Eliot House, and the VCCA, and a mentor in PEN’s Prison Writing Program. Her latest, The Book of Atlantis Black: The Search for a Sister Gone Missing, is a “haunting, profound investigative memoir that will resonate with readers as both a compelling true crime story and an affecting literary work,” according to a Library Journal starred review.

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Nick Flynn
This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire

Nick Flynn is an acclaimed memoirist, poet, and playwright. He has previously worked as a ship’s captain, an electrician, and a caseworker for homeless adults. His bibliography includes multiple award-winning memoirs and volumes of poetry, with other work appearing in publications including the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and NPR’s This American Life. Flynn is an awardee of the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, PEN, and the Fine Arts Work Center, among others. His latest work is This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire, a memoir about how childhood spills into adulthood. Currently, he is a creative writing professor at the University of Houston and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Helen Fremont
The Escape Artist

Helen Fremont is an award-winning author and essayist. Her works of fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, Ploughshares, and the Harvard Review. She has been a teaching fellow at both Bread Loaf and the Radcliffe Institute. Fremont’s latest book, The Escape Artist, has been called “a riveting exploration of trauma and its aftermath” by Booklist and was a 2020 New York Times Editors’ Choice title.

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Heidi Legg is an American-Canadian writer with work published in the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, WBUR’s Cognoscenti, and the Ottawa Citizen, among others. She founded TheEditorial.com where she interviews visionaries and people working with emerging ideas around her in Boston and Cambridge. Legg has spent over twenty years in the media industry, whether as producer, a host for TV programs and documentaries, or as a journalist. Between 2018 and 2020 she was a part of the Harvard Kennedy School at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and published many papers on the industry’s landscape. My Evangeline, her debut novel, was published in 2011.


Secrets: almost every family has them. The three memoirists in this audio session will talk about the secrets and mysteries that haunt their lives. Helen Fremont, in The Escape Artist, explores the psychological fallout stemming from her parents’ refusal to acknowledge that they were survivors of the Holocaust. In The Book of Atlantis Black, poet Betsy Bonner delves into the mysterious and troubling facts surrounding her sister’s death in a blend of memoir and literary true crime. And poet and memoirist Nick Flynn skillfully and lyrically blends the secrets and mysteries of his early life with his own secrets in This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire. Journalist, writer, and founder of TheEditorial.com, Heidi Legg, delves into the truth of these memoirists’ stories about secrets, lies, and mysteries. Listen to the end for a special offer from the BBF and W.W. Norton!