SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT: A Q&A With John A. Teske, Memory and Memoir: The Science of Memory in First Person Storytelling

Returning speaker John A. Teske will delve into the science of memory at HippoCamp 2021. Thanks to John for participating in our Q&A!


Tell us a little about your involvement this year at HippoCamp.

I will try to combine some of the scientific background on how memory works, and how to use that knowledge both to help you write and to beware of pitfalls. Will use some examples from published work, my own memoirs, and audience examples.


Our motto is “memorable creative nonfiction.” Tell us about one of the more recent memoirs, essay collections, or individual essays you’ve read and why it was memorable.

Cherry by Mary Karr. Marketed and even reviewed as a “sexual awakening,” it is more about life as a young adult in East Texas, where sex is even downplayed. But it rings true in the last few chapters about an inside view of the criminal justice system and, even better, the best and most realistic account of an acid trip I have ever read, and I’ve read and contributed a story of my own to a book called Tripping. And her reconstruction is based on notes she took writing all night afterwards, so it is right in there!


What’s going to keep you busy between now and HippoCamp?

Took my five-year-old son on an amazing road trip to the Shenandoah Valley over the Independence Day weekend. I just came back from a road trip visiting old friends in Scranton, a former student teaching English in Izmir, and several friends in Burlington, Vermont, which I fell in love with.


Since you’ll also be attending the conference, when you’re not wearing your “speaker hat,” what are you most looking forward to learning or doing? 

Talking with people about the stories they like to tell. I like the talking part as much or as more than the reading and writing part.


To learn more about HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers and see our full list of speakers and sessions, visit the official conference website.


Share a Comment