HippoCamp 2022 Speaker Q&A: Brandon Arvesen

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Brandon Arvesen, a writer, editor, professor, and founding editor of 3cents Magazine, will be joining us to present a flash session about fact-checking when writing about families: something our attendees ask about every year! Brandon was kind enough to answer a few questions about his upcoming reading and trip to Lancaster for our annual writing conference:


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

A: I’m one of the speakers for the Flash Sessions! We’ve got an early morning time slot, so I hope HippoCampers show up with a cup of coffee and excitement for this rad panel of wonderful speakers. For my part, “Fact-checking the Family Story,” attendees can expect a 10 minute crash course into how research and reporting can (and should) reshape writing memoir. I’ll zero in on one example from my current work in progress and extrapolate out from there the “how-to” of research and reporting for non-journalist memoir writers!

Q: 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. If it’s online, share a link!

A: Michelle Orange’s Pure Flame is a fantastic reported memoir on feminism, mother / daughter relationships, business burnout, and grief. It is a powerful piece of writing that has stuck with me long after finishing it.

Q: 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 to want to come back?

A: I am looking to expand my literary community, and speaking at and attending HippoCamp excites me to my core for that very reason. After two years of COVID isolation, I want to be around writers again talking about writing. When I saw the call for submissions to speak I was in the middle of researching and reporting—which is another way of saying I was talking off the ears of anyone who would listen about researching and reporting. A friend and fellow writer suggested I apply!

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

A: I’m a writing professor in the midst of switching schools, so much of my summer will be spent slowly relocating from Maryland to New Hampshire. When I’m not hauling crates of books up North, I’ll be sending out queries and book proposals to agents! (So if you’re an agent and I like the cut of my jib, I’d love to chat!)

Q: 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?

A: Oh man, this is a hard one–there’s so much I want to see. I’m very excited for Sheela Clary’s breakout session on interviewing; I’m always looking to improve my interview techniques. I’m also excited about Sue Repko’s session on self care in memoir writing & literally any session dealing with the querying to publishing path I’m finding myself on right now.

Q: 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?

A: This is my first time here, but I’m fortunate that I’ve got friends in town who have promised to show me some great spots.


We can’t wait for Brandon to join us this year! HippoCamp 2022, a creative nonfiction conference sponsored by Hippocampus Magazine and Books, is Aug. 12-14 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For more information or to register, visit our official conference website here.

(Learn more about the conference and see details of all previous years at our magazine website’s HippoCamp page.)

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