Three Ways to Use Research in Personal Narratives

Breakout session

All times are listed in the event's local time zone: EDT (-04:00).


Research can be one of a memoirist's most valuable tools. In this session, we'll discuss three different ways it can be used to ground and enrich a personal narrative both on and off the page: to spark and support memory, as a narrative container (the memoir-as-detective novel model), and as a metaphor (research as a strand in a braided narrative that puts your personal experience in conversation with an external concept). Book- and essay-length examples will be included in this presentation.

Post-Conference Materials

Download Reading List [DOC]

Session topics

  • Essays
  • Memoir
  • Narrative Nonfiction
  • Research & Process


  • Lilly Dancyger

    Pronouns: she/her

    Lilly Dancyger is a contributing editor at Catapult, and assistant editor at Barrelhouse Books. She's the author of Negative Space, a reported and illustrated memoir selected by Carmen Maria Machado as a winner of the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards; and the editor of Burn It Down, a critically...