Memoir is an increasingly popular literary genre among American writers and readers. Nicholas Dawidoff, the author of both a memoir and a biographical memoir, examines the form, how it functions in the work of several superior American writers — and in his own books. In particular, he will discuss the subject within the subject, the way a range of big, general themes from a box of old family mementos to food to fly fishing have been the impetus for the authors of some of America's finest volumes of personal history.
Nicholas Dawidoff is the author of four books. One of them, The Fly Swatter, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and another, In the Country of Country, was named one of the greatest all-time works of travel literature by Condé Nast Traveler. His first book, The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg was a national bestseller and appeared on many 1994 best book lists. In May, Pantheon will publish The Crowd Sounds Happy: A Story of Love, Madness and Baseball. He is also the editor of the Library of America’s Baseball: A Literary Anthology. A graduate of Harvard University, he has been a Guggenheim, Civitella Ranieri and Berlin Prize Fellow, and is a contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and The American Scholar. He is currently teaching a seminar titled “Americans at Work and at Play.”