On Thursday, August 6, we wrote high-stakes memoir scenes with New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and professional poker player Maria Konnikova at Going All In, A Memoir Writing Salon!
What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done, on purpose? Describe the experience in a scene. What was it? Why did you find yourself there? What were you feeling? Did you know it for what it was at the time—or is it only later that you understood what was at stake?
Think about someone who has played a significant role in your life. A teacher, a parent, a friend, a mentor, a sibling. Describe one single interaction that highlights why this person is important to you. Show us who they are through a scene. Through dialogue: Make us feel like we’re there, with you, in one very specific moment in time.
Write about an object that holds power over you. Describe the object in a way that highlights the nature of its personal significance. A phone or computer, for instance, holds power over most of us: the grip of technology. But that’s something more universal than personal. Try to find something that is unique to you.
Maria Konnikova is the author of Mastermind and The Confidence Game. She is a regular contributing writer for The New Yorker and has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Slate, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, The Boston Globe, Scientific American, Wired, and Smithsonian, among many other publications. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2019 Excellence in Science Journalism Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. While researching her newest book The Biggest Bluff, Maria became an international poker champion and the winner of over $300,000 in tournament earnings. Maria also hosts the podcast The Grift from Panoply Media and is currently a visiting fellow at NYU’s School of Journalism. Her podcasting work earned her a National Magazine Award nomination in 2019. Maria graduated from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.
Our Summer Salons—hosted in Zoom and open to the public—are a space for our community to learn from and write with some incredible authors, poets, journalists, and novelists. The Girls Write Now Summer Salon Series is an extension of our Writing Works Program.