Event Recap: 9/11 Memoir Festival

The Sunday Best Reading Series is gearing up for next month’s event, a program of fiction featuring Jonathan Baumbach, Janice Eidus, and Douglas Light. In the meantime, we offer you this recap (with photographs) of Writing from Life, the program of memoir that Sunday Best hosted on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. For those of you who missed the event, audio of the readings is available on the Sunday Best Reading Series program page on the WHFR (Washington Heights Free Radio) web site.

Risa Ehrlich, memoirist and visual artist.

The program opened with readings by local memoirists Risa Hirsch Ehrlich and Bonnie Walker. Risa Ehrlich, who is a visual artist as well as a memoirist, read a piece about teenaged yearnings for glamor and the hunt for the perfect prom dress.  Bonnie Walker, the official photographer for the Sunday Best Reading Series, read a short excerpt from her memoir-in-progress and a personal essay about a woman who took her own life in a New York City subway station.

Riss Hirsch Ehrlich (left) and Bonnie Walker

Next up was Dean Kostos, author of several books of poetry, including the forthcomiing Rivering (2012), who read an excerpt from his memoir provisionally titled The Boy Who Listened to Paintings. Dean’s reading dealt with his experiences as a teenager committed to a mental institution.

Dean Kostos, poet and memoirist

Novelist and memoirist Phyllis Raphael closed the afternoon’s program with a series of readings both humorous and poignant. Phyllis started off with a story of a first-date misadventure, an accidental locking of her car keys in her car. Fortunately, her date, a psychoanalyst, turned out to be the kind of guy who always carries a duplicate key set (and she ended up marrying him).  Her other readings touched on Buddhist monks in Scotland and competitive sadism in academia.

Phyllis Raphael, novelist and memoirist.

The event was followed, as usual, by a reception during which audience members mingled with the writers. All present agreed that the event represented the Sunday Best Reading Series at its finest. Special thanks to Veronica Liu, who filled in for Sig and Theo Rosen as sound tech for this event, and to Peter Martin, who fulfilled treasurer and bartending duties.

Veronica Liu, WHFR

Please see the Sunday Best Flickr stream, accessible in the blog sidebar, for additional photographs from this event. Stay tuned for a recap of our event Openings to Light, which was held on December 4, 2011, as we gear up for our next reading set to take place in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens on February 5. Thanks again to all who attended and all who support the series.

Writers and audeince members mingle at the after-reception.


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  1. […] and Susan were attendance to show their support. Read about the event recap on the Sunday Best blog here.  Also check out photos from the event on the Sunday Best Facebook page here. Share […]

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