SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT: A Q&A With Vicki Mayk, Beyond Touchdowns, Homeruns and Heroes: Writing About Sports and Athletes

Headshot: Vicki MaykVicki Mayk, a returning HippoCamp presenter — and, now, our reviews editor, will present a session on writing about sports and athletes. Thanks to Vicki Mayk for participating in our Q&A!


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

I’m excited to present my breakout session focusing on writing about sports and athletes because, until I wrote my book “Growing Up On The Gridiron: Football, Friendship and the Tragic Life of Owen Thomas,” I’d never written about sports before in my 40 years as a writer! So in addition to giving attendees some ideas about ways to approach the subject matter, I’m hoping to encourage writers to tackle subjects they’ve never written about without fear — and to be enthusiastic about doing so.


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.

Wow. This is a really tough one to answer. But I’ll go with Emily Bernhard’s essay collection “Black Is The Body: Stories From My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time and Mine.” So beautifully written and so compelling I couldn’t put it down. I’ll be forever grateful to Nana-Ama Danquah, a writer I follow on social media, for recommending it.


What made you decide to participate in HippoCamp this year as a speaker? If you’re a returning speaker, how did your past experiences encourage you to want to come back?

I love HippoCamp and this is my third year being a speaker. I’ve always enjoyed speaking in this warm and supportive writing community: it’s like talking to a group of friends. And this year, I was excited to be able to talk about something I’ve never seen presented there before.


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

With my book out in the world, I’ve been able to return to revising some essay that languished while I worked on my manuscript. And I’m doing what so many people have been doing: I’m visiting people I couldn’t see during the pandemic. I recently visited with my daughter, who I had not seen since December 2019!


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? 

Seeing my fellow writers — and picking up some great ideas from the other presenters!


We love introducing Lancaster to attendees. If you live here or have been here before, what would you recommend to other attendees? And, if this will be your first time here, what are you looking forward to? 

Lancaster Cupcake is a must! Seriously. A dangerous and delicious destination. As Prue Leith says on Great British Baking Show: worth the calories!


Anything else you’d like to share?

When you’re at HippoCamp, talk to people you don’t know. Seriously. It’s a conference where it’s truly possible to meet people and start friendships and expand your writing community.


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