Keynote speakers


Irene Kacandes is Professor of German and comparative literature at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. She is the author of Talk Fiction: Literature and the Talk Explosion (2001) and Daddy's War: A Paramemoir (2009).

"Paramemoir Revisited"

In 2009 I published Daddy’s War, an experimental piece of life writing about my paternal family during the Fascist Occupation of Greece (University of Nebraska Press). I decided to label it a “paramemoir,” since it went beyond and against--two of the meanings of the polyvalent Greek prefix “para”--traditional memoir defined by Webster’s as “a narrative composed from personal experience.” Definitional features of paramemoirs include: focus on more than the individual whose name appears on the cover; inclusion of material that is not strictly related to the personal narratives of the multiple individuals who are included; and nonchronological elements, elements like scholarly analysis that are not usually “narrative,” by Prince’s definition (the “logically consistent representation of at least two asynchronous events, or a state and an event, that do not presuppose or imply each other,” 2012). Paramemoirs often contain elaborate peritexts in Genette’s sense (Seuils 1987). I call for the wider use of the term “paramemoir” in scholarship and teaching due to its heuristic value in decoding enigmatic texts that are generically evasive, only uneasily and often misleadingly put under the label “memoir” or even the more capacious term “life narrative” (Smith and Watson). I support my argument by considering texts that appeared both before [Patrick Modiano’s Dora Bruder (1997, Eng. 1999)] and after [Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (2016), Hazel V. Carby’s Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands (2019)] I coined the term in Daddy’s War.


Teresa Bruś is Associate Professor at the University of Wrocław. She is the author of Life Writing as Self-Collecting in the 1930s: Cecil Day Lewis and Louis MacNeice (2012) and Face Forms in Photography and Life Writing of the 1920s and 1930s (forthcoming).


“Cells of Energy: The Book, the Camera, and the Concept of Dust in Experimental Life Writing by Patti Smith”


Guest author


David Clark is a media artist, filmmaker, visual artist and Professor at NSCAD University in Halifax. He is the author of A Is for Apple (2002), 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (2008) and The End (Death in Seven Colors) (2015).

“Biography from the Outside: 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein and The End (Death in Seven Colors)