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Writing Hybrids: Creative Nonfiction

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About this session

In this session, Jessica Pearce Rotondi will discuss the ways she combined journalistic reporting, family research, and travel writing with personal memoir to create hybridized nonfiction, with Q & A moderated by Olivia Taylor Smith, Executive Editor of Unnamed Press.

Jessica is the author of What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family's Search for Answers. Ron Chernow has called What We Inherit “A beautiful amalgam of memoir, travelogue, and investigative report that moves with the propulsive forward energy of a thriller." After her mother's passing, Jessica discovered troves of hidden family letters between her grandparents, her mother, and the U.S. government describing her family's decades-long search for her missing uncle, who disappeared during the CIA-led "Secret War" in Laos in 1972. In her book, Jessica breathes new life into these documents and uses the letters and transcripts to insert her mother and grandparents into the narrative.

Jessica Pearce Rotondi

Jessica Pearce Rotondi is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. Her work has been published by The History Channel, TIME, Vogue, Reader’s Digest, Salon, Atlas Obscura, HuffPost, and Refinery29. Previously, she was a senior editor at HuffPost and a staff member at the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest literary human rights organization. Her first job in New York City was at St. Martin’s Press, where she had a “room of her own” in the Flatiron Building to fill with books. She was raised in New England and is a graduate of Brown University, where she received a research grant to conduct an oral history project on World War II. What We Inherit is her first book.

Olivia Taylor Smith

Olivia Taylor Smith is Executive Editor of the Unnamed Press. She is also a certified silver pin sommelier with the North American Sommelier Association and translator of the graphic novel Panthers in the Hole, about the Angola 3.

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