HippoCamp 2022 Speaker Q&A: Lisa Cooper Ellison

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Lisa Cooper Ellison is a regular contributor to the Jane Friedman blog, and a longtime friend of Hippocampus who is not only ridiculously sweet and friendly, she’s also smart as a whip! Lisa was kind enough to answer a few questions about her trip to back Lancaster for our annual writing conference:


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

A: This is my fifth HippoCamp. This year, I’m running a break out session titled To Prologue or Not to Prologue: That is the Question. During this session we’re going to look at what a prologue is, the jobs it must fulfill, and whether you need to write one. We’ll also spend time taking apart some well-known prologues so writers can see why they’re successful.

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.

A: I recently read The Light of Two Shining Stars and Dreadful Sorry: Essays on American Nostalgia. Both were so thoughtful and well written. I highly recommend them.

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: HippoCamp is by far one of the best creative nonfiction conferences I attend. Every year, I learn something new and feel closer to my creative family. This is my third year participating as a speaker. I love being able to give back to the community that has given me so much.

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

A: I spent three weeks building a ukulele with my dad then I toured the Midwest with my husband. In Cincinnati, we attended its famed underground tour and learned about its beloved food staple, goetta.

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: I look forward to seeing the friends I made at past HippoCamps and to learning from this year’s list of fabulous speakers, including Allison K. Williams, Amy Eaton, Dave Pidgeon, Lara Lillibridge, Sue Repko, Ruth Nasrullah, Jeannine Ouellette, and so many more.

Q: We love introducing Lancaster to attendees. Since you have been here before, what would you recommend to other attendees? And what are you looking forward to?

A: Check out the Saturday farmers market. On the way out of town, stop by Plain and Fancy.


We can’t wait for Lisa 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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