The Power of Memoir

Raising her African American daughter as a single mother in an all white town in Texas was the topic of Debra Monroe’s captivating talk as the second author in this year’s Writers’ Workshop Series. Monroe, who came to Williston at the invitation of professor Maddie Blaise of the University of Massachusetts and author Elinor Lipman, immediately set the tone for the talk that followed by telling the audience that she expected them to laugh at her stories. Without need of that encouragement, the audience responded to both her readings from On the Outskirts of Normal and her spontaneous asides. But beneath the humor lay a deeply moving and provocative story as Ms. Monroe was at the vanguard of inter-racial single parent adoption in this country. 

Once again, Williston students spent dedicated time following the public portion of the evening in the Writer’s Workshop, and by all accounts, Ms. Monroe demonstrated her prowess in that setting as a professor accustomed to working with young people on the craft of writing.  Particularly exciting, and a testimony to the level of interest our trustees have in the school, a number of members of the board were in attendance at Ms. Monroe’s reading as well as the dinner that preceded it.

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