HippoCamp 2022 Speaker Q&A: Nina Lichtenstein

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Nina Lichtenstein, a native of Norway, divides her time between Tel Aviv, Maine, and Oslo. She holds a Ph.D. in French literature and an MFA in creative nonfiction from University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. This year, she’ll talk to HippoCampers about writing the body in her session Writing the Body: How to Mine Your Treasure Chest for Memories. Nina was kind enough to answer a few questions about her 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 am running a break-out session on writing the body, that is, I will share and show how I’ve tapped into each body part in order to evoke forgotten or hidden life-memories, embedded as they often (always?) are in what I call our muscle and emotional memories, tied on a cellular level to the physicality of our glorious bodies. We’ll look at some examples of powerful body writing, and I will give examples of helpful body-writing prompts. We’ll even have a moment of body mindfulness together!

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: I find Lucille Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips” such a joyous, body positive expression of the importance of valuing and expressing our love for our body parts. Watching her perform the poem is even better.

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 love Hippocampus as a creative nonfiction magazine and have contributed to one of its anthologies (INK). My first attempt at attending didn’t happen due to COVID, so when I learned it was going to happen in person this year, I knew I’d register as a participant. Since I am passionate about the topic of body writing and taught a workshop about it earlier this year which turned out to be great fun and truly rewarding, I decided to send in a proposal for a session. This would also force me to dig deeper into my own work; the benefit of committing to something with a deadline and an audience!

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

A: I own and run an AirBnB in Maine, and this is our busy season! Also, my aging mother is travelling from Oslo, Norway, to spend the month of July with me, and that will be special but also, I am anticipating, not always easy. To keep sane and protect my own selfhood, I plan to take my bike and kayak out for some much loved alone time, in between all the nurturing of mother and guests. And some HippoCamp preps, of course!

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 boy, I can’t wait to pick and choose from the smorgasbord of amazing sessions and workshops. To be in the HippoCamp environment for an entire weekend is a fantasy come true. I will be giddy, and probably also a little overwhelmed. Also, I am excited about meeting in person many fellow writers whom I only know, so far, virtually!

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: I look forward to learning and discovering something I did not know about a part of the country I have never visited.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: I am a wee bit worried about feeling overwhelmed (Like at AWP it was just too much for me! and I have attended the MLA in my past academic life and felt the same way) but know that HippoCamp is much smaller and more intimate, so I am very happy about that!


We can’t wait for Nina 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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