Last week, the Honors Program held two memoir events, featuring three different authors.


nov2017 memoir reading2On Monday, November 6th, we had a special “Evening with Faculty Memoirists,” with Prof. Joy Ladin (David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College for Women) and Prof. Joanne Jacobson (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of English, Yeshiva College) reading from their recent books, The Soul of the Stranger and Every Last Breath, respectively.

Following the reading, Prof. Ladin and Prof. Jacobson talked about how they nov2017 memoir readingnavigate writing about family and sensitive topics, in a discussion moderated by Liesl Schwabe (Lecturer in English, Director Yeshiva College Writing Program).  Prof. Ladin discussed the ethical difficulties of representing someone else to the world and the disruptive experience of seeing yourself written about.  She emphasized the importance of considering another person’s experience of a situation you’re writing about.  Prof. Jacobson acknowledged the role of writing in understanding yourself better, and how a story belongs to you even if it might involve other people.


Then, on Wednesday, November 8th, Ilana Kurshan visited the Honors Program to read from her recent memoir, If All the Seas Were Ink.  After reading an excerpt from the book, she discussed her experiences. At the age of 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, she started learning daf yomi. By the time she completed the Talmud after seven and a half years, Kurshan was remarried with three young children. Her memoir is a tale of heartache and humor, of love and loss, of marriage and motherhood, and of learning to put one foot in front of the other by turning page after page.



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