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Lycoming College’s English department is delighted to welcome Suzanne Farrell Smith for a reading of her first memoir, “The Memory Sessions,” in Shangraw Performance Hall in the Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall. The reading will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m., and the event is free and open to the public.
In “The Memory Sessions,” Smith explores the absence of her memory for the first twelve years of her life, save for two events: her father being killed by a drunk driver when she was six, and a fire destroying her house when she was eight. She attempts to rediscover her lost memories through therapy, exercises, and extensive research, all the while confronting the two most harrowing events of her childhood.
"Suzanne Farrell Smith’s debut memoir triumphs over a seemingly insurmountable challenge: psychological awakening from years of traumatic erasure,” said Sascha Feinstein, Robert L. and Charlene Shangraw Professor at Lycoming College and director of the reading series. “Lovingly researched and exquisitely crafted, her reflections fall upon the reader like dazzling sunshowers from nearly cloudless skies.”
In addition to her new memoir, Smith also wrote “The Writing Shop,” a book that explores the key elements of a writing workshop. Her creative nonfiction, critical essays, poetry, and fiction have appeared in such journals as Brevity, Kenyon Review, Post Road, River Teeth, and PANK. Her work has also been published in several anthologies, including “Selected Memories,” “Oh, Baby!,” and “Community Health Narratives.” She teaches at the Westport Writers’ Workshop and lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.
“Suzanne herself has a summery, embracing persona, and I know she will fully endear herself to her Williamsport audience,” added Feinstein.
Smith will be brought to campus as part of The Himes/Sweeney Visiting Scholar in Creative Writing series, endowed by Diane Sweeney ’60 and her husband John Sweeney in 2011.