The Art of Memoir: Women Write Their Lives

Session 6: Daily Workshop #603; Saturday, February 15 — 11:AM

PANEL: The Art of Memoir: Women Write Their Lives
(with Amy Ferris, Teresa Stack, Brooke Warner, Victoria Zackheim, & Hollye Dexter)

Five extraordinary women talk about the stories they longed to share, the stories that were hard to write, and the sheer power of releasing those words out into the world.

Amy Ferris is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and editor. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From A Midlife Crisis (Seal Press, 2009), has been translated into numerous languages and adapted into an Off-Broadway play. She has contributed to such anthologies as He Said What?, The Buddha Next Door, Exit Laughing, and The Drinking Diaries. Amy wrote the young adult novel, a greater goode (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).

Her films include Mr. Wonderful and Funny Valentines. She co-created, and co-edited the first women’s issue of Living Buddhism Magazine (2001), and was Guest Editor-in-Chief of Milford Magazine’s annual women’s issue. She is co-editor of the anthology Dancing at The Shame Prom, Seal Press, 2012Her blog, Marrying George Clooneywas named one of the ten best blogs for women over 40 by More Magazine. Amy serves on the Advisory Board of The Women’s Media Center, and serves on the Board of Peters Valley Art, Education and Craft Center. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ken.

Victoria Zackheim is the author of the novel, The Bone Weaver, and editor of five anthologies, the most recent being Exit Laughing. Her screenplay, Maidstone, a feature film, is in development (Identity Films), and she is at work on a play based on the book Entangled: A Chronicle of Late Love.

Victoria wrote the documentary, Where Birds Never Sang: The Story of Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps, now being aired nationwide on PBS. She is story developer and writer of Tracing Thalidomide: The Frances Kelsey Story (On the Road Productions). Victoria teaches Personal Essay in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a 2010 San Francisco Library Laureate.

Brooke Warner is founder of Warner Coaching Inc., publisher of She Writes Press, and author of What’s Your Book? A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You from Inspiration to Published Author. Brooke’s expertise is in traditional and new publishing, and she is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and self-publishing. Her book was a finalist for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award for 2012 and her website was selected by the Association of Independent Authors as a winner of “Best Websites for Independent Authors.” She lives and works in Berkeley, California. and

Hollye Dexter is co-editor of Dancing At the Shame Prom (Seal Press), and recently completed a second memoir, Wind to Wildfire. Her work has been featured in anthologies (Power of Positive, Character Consciousness, The Book of Miracles), and online at, BlogHer, Opposing Views, and others.

Much of her writing is fueled by activism. As former President of the Music Heals Foundation, she worked with Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson) on a campaign to raise domestic violence awareness, and with California State University Northridge, bringing music therapy programs to autistic children. In 2003, she founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running arts workshops for teenagers in the foster care system.

Her work as an activist for animal rights has been covered on NPRFox news, and in the L.A. Times. Currently she works as Media Relations Director for Moms Demand Action, and teaches writing workshops for teens and adults, helping them find their authentic voices. She lives in L.A. with her husband and three children, where she hikes, does yoga, and meditates to stay (mostly) sane.

Teresa Stack is president of The Nation magazine.  Since 1998, she has guided The Nation‘s day to day operations and long term planning. Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation is America’s oldest weekly magazine, and with print circulation of 150,000 and over 1,000,000 monthly visitors to, it is now more widely read and influential than ever.

Prior to joining The Nation, Ms. Stack worked as the corporate circulation director overseeing Fairchild Publication’s fifteen trade magazines; she has worked in publishing for 27 years. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Ms. Stack is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Los Angeles Times and other web and print publications.