Two writers on campus will question the limits of memory, genre and the divide between creative and critical writing during “Hybrid Memory: A Reading of Experimental Memoirs” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14 in the Blackwell Room (Demarest, second floor). What sets these memoirs apart is that they both have strong visual and fictional components, exploring ways that creative nonfiction can be fused with the short story, visual arts and other artistic genres.
At the reading Jillian Burcar — fiction writer, theorist and Fisher Center pre-doctoral fellow — will read her memoir, titled “The Agony of the Story Untold.” Burcar’s work blends the history of Van Gogh with the history of her own family in a memoir that is much a visual work as it is a text.
Adding to Burcar’s experimentations in creative nonfiction, Joshua Unikel ’07 – fiction writer, essayist, communications editor and Seneca Review assistant editor – will read his memoir, titled “Bandaged Moments.” This hybrid text blurs the short story, the memoir, the lyric essay and an Emily Dickinson poem to compile a story about Unikel’s life.
Using their artistic and academic backgrounds, Burcar and Unikel will ask their audience to question whether or not there is a clear line between memory and make believe, history and story or the creative and the critical.
Burcar is a Ph.D. candidate in Literature and Creative Writing (fiction) at the University of Southern California, a hybrid program where she does critical studies while producing creative work. She will complete both the Visual Studies and Gender Studies Graduate Certificates at USC. She has also been honored with the Mildred Fox Hanson Award and Virginia Middleton Summer Award. Recently, she has given several talks on comics-related topics across the country.
Unikel is an entering MFA student at the University of Iowa (nonfiction), where he will complete his thesis in the experimental essay. As a student at the Colleges, Unikel graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English, concentrating in creative writing, with a double minor in philosophy and cognition, logic and language. He also received the Katherine D. Cooke Scholarship for honors-level literary scholarship, the Benjamin Atkinson Award in English and Comparative Literature, the Dean Benjamin P. Atkinson Prize for his contribution to the lives of his peers and was also the co-recipient of the Boswell Award for philosophic excellence.