Is your life interesting enough for a memoir?

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Emma Clark Gratton

Memoirs and autobiographies regularly fill the top spots on bestseller lists, but not everyone has a life worthy of memoir.

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Despite being one of the world’s most celebrated novelists and the first black woman to win a Nobel Prize for literature, Toni Morrison cancelled her memoir contract as she doesn’t consider her life interesting enough. Morrison was speaking to students at Oberlin College, Ohio, near the city of Lorain, where she was born in 1931. According to local press, she was asked if she intended to write an autobiography about her childhood in the area, and admitted that she had gone so far as to sign a contract for her next book to be a memoir. ‘But then I cancelled it,’ she said. ‘My publisher asked me to do it, but there's a point at which your life is not interesting, at least to me. I'd rather write fiction.’

About the author

Emma Clark Gratton is an ArtsHub staff writer.