Books by Hippocampus to Publish HippoCamp-inspired Getting to the Truth: The Craft and Practice of Creative Nonfiction

Conference room full of people with aisle of people lined up to ask questions from hippocamp 2017

HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers brings together 150+ writers each summer. It’s also inspired a book of creative nonfiction writing advice.


Update: Pre-orders are now open!

Pre-order from Amazon | Add to GoodReads list | Visit product page at Books website


In 2015, Hippocampus Magazine’s founder and publisher Donna Talarico had a brainstorm: What if there were a friendly, small, accessible conference for creative nonfiction writers of all skill levels, backgrounds, and styles? A place where the binary of “students” and “teachers” was replaced by a collaborative group of creators who learn from and share with one another, who celebrate each other’s gifts and contributions to the literary community.

Enter HippoCamp, our annual conference for creative nonfiction writers. Since our debut event, each summer* scores of writers gather for an event that’s become known for a rich, warm, and welcoming environment where everyone is at once student and teacher, sharing essential knowledge, not just about the writing of life, but the living of it.

(*well, not 2020. Thank you, pandemic!)

The best writing conference you ever attended … in book form.

That vibe — that willingness to share — is the idea behind an incredibly special project, one we’re SO excited to finally announce. Books by Hippocampus will release Getting to the Truth: The Craft and Practice of Creative Nonfiction August 11, 2021, just in time for the return of our annual conference. Pre-orders begin July 5, 2021, at the Books by Hippocampus website.

Cover of getting to the truth the craft and practice of creative nonfiction yellow legal pad with blue lines as background

This idea — to celebrate “the best of HippoCamp” — was germinating for some time and finally became a reality when Donna mentioned it, kind of in passing, to Hippocampus Magazine’s associate editor Rae Pagliarulo — who immediately became invested in the project and, ultimately, became the primary editor of the anthology.

This collection of craft essays offers thoughtful insights from some of the highest-rated HippoCamp speakers, who also happen to be some of the brightest minds in CNF we know. The craft anthology is rounded out by the wise writers behind a couple of Hippocampus Magazine’s most-read craft columns. Whether you’re new to writing creative nonfiction or want to improve your craft, there’s something within these pages that will ignite your creativity.

Inside Getting to the Truth

In the coming weeks, we’ll share more details about this creative nonfiction “how-to” book, such as a chapter-by-chapter overview and info about our incredible contributors. In the meantime, here’s a glance at what you can expect.

Getting to the Truth, like our conference, is about more than the craft of writing. It also covers the writing life, paths to publication, and engaging with your audience. So, this book is divided into three sections:

  • Getting It Down
  • Getting Through It
  • Getting It Right

Oh, and of course a bonus section at the end with lots of resources!

Its 20+ essays include deep dives into topics like:

  • Imposter syndrome
  • Generating story ideas
  • Beginnings and endings in creative nonfiction
  • Visual essays, lyric essays, and other blending of genres
  • Writing about family members
  • Memory (and what we don’t remember)
  • The quiet memoir

… and so. much. more.

Getting to the Truth features the wisdom and insight of writers such as:

  • Eli Aharon
  • Steph Auteri
  • Sue Baldwin-Way
  • Nicole Breit
  • Melanie Brooks
  • Kelly Caldwell
  • Angie Chatman
  • Sam Chiarelli
  • Athena Dixon
  • Wendy Fontaine
  • Joanne M Lozar Glenn
  • Penny Guisinger
  • Laurie Jean
  • Elane Johnson
  • Beth Kephart
  • Lara Lillibridge
  • Kate Meadows
  • Jenna McGuiggan
  • Randon Billings Noble
  • Alexis Paige
  • Dave Pidgeon
  • Matt Skillen

Other credits: Rae Pagliarulo (primary editor), Donna Talarico (publisher), Mark Melnick (cover designer) and Jocelyn Park (book designer).

We are THRILLED to bring this book into the world. Stay tuned for more details and, if you’re just learning about HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers, we invite you to learn more about this year’s event (Aug. 13-15 in Lancaster, PA) at our conference website.


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