Composing a memoir is a deeply personal process, one made more complicated when writing about family and friends. In this session, three memoirists consider the opportunities and risks in telling true stories about loved ones. Rosie Waterland’s Every Lie I’ve Ever Told details her family’s reaction to her bestselling debut memoir, The Anti-Cool Girl. Jessie Cole explores loss and grief in the beautifully written Staying. Tara Westover’s Educated explores her escape from a survivalist end-of-days childhood. They speak to ABC Radio Sydney’s Richard Glover.

Tara Westover (International)

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Tara Westover was born the youngest of seven children in rural Idaho. Raised by Mormon survivalist parents, she grew up preparing for the End of Days—she spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected. Her father opposed public education, so she was never put in school. She had no birth certificate, medical records, or formal education until the age of sixteen, when she decided to educate herself. She was admitted to Brigham Young University and upon graduation was awarded a Gates Cambridge Fellowship to study at Trinity College, Cambridge, where she pursued a MPhil in Intellectual History and Political Thought. She received her PhD in the same subject from Cambridge in 2014. Her first book, Educated, is a tale of the transformative power of education. It is also a story of fierce family loyalty, and the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties.

Jessie Cole (Australian)

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Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in Northern NSW, and enjoyed a bush childhood of creek swimming and barefoot free-range adventuring. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim. Her work has also appeared in many Australian publications, including Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Island Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Good Weekend, Big Issue, Daily Life and The Guardian. Jessie’s memoir is Staying.

Richard Glover (Australian)

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Richard Glover has written a number of bestselling books, including Flesh Wounds and The Mud House. He writes regularly for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Washington Post, as well as presenting the comedy program Thank God It's Friday on ABC Local Radio. His latest book is The Land Before Avocado.