Born in Washington DC, Leslie Jamison grew up in Los Angeles. Since then, she has lived in Iowa, Nicaragua, New Haven, and New York. And she has worked as a baker, an office temp, an innkeeper, a tutor, and a medical actor. Worlds that are still in her and inform her writings.
She ponders: What does it mean to confess the self—in all its quandaries and questions—inside a piece of reportage? How does a piece work differently when it includes reported material alongside deeply personal reflections—when we sense the reporter as a deeply emotional presence with a story. And what obligations might a writer might feel towards her subjects—the interplay between guilt and the affection, between care and skepticism.
Author of the novel, The Gin Closet, and a collection of essays, The Empathy Exams, her work has appeared in Harper's, Oxford American, A Public Space, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Believer. She is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review, and an assistant professor at Columbia University.
Ms. Jamison’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse (CWPD) at CMC.
Photo credit: Michael Stenerson