Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

Thursday, September 14, 2017 | Evening Program
Compassion and Confession
Leslie Jamison

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

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