Hungry for Good Memoir? 😋
Hannah Howard writes delicious, relationship-y food memoirs
I’m back with another author interview as a treat for making it to the end of a chaotic week. (Sorry, I’m editorializing, I hope you had a calmer go of it than I did.)
This episode features Hannah Howard on how she writes food memoirs that transcend the genre.
Hannah Howard is an NYC-based author of two food memoirs, Feast: True Love in and Out of the Kitchen and Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family, which are also about relationships, motherhood, and finding your tribe. Hannah is a self-described “writer, author, editor, and cheese maven.” I fancy myself a cheese maven, as well, although I’m probably more supermarket string cheese grade to Hannah’s Gruyère or better.
We discuss how an MFA application process helped her crystallize her vision for what became her first book, the difference between first and second books, her experience in a low-residency MFA program, reactions she’s gotten to writing about ED, how her niche is expanding into parenting, and more.
Here’s a lil preview from the interview — a writing mindset hack from Hannah that I love:
“As I was feeling daunted by this big — I think my contract said 60,000 words; I believe Feast is like 75,000 words, which is pretty much like a medium-sized book. It just sounds like a lot of words: 75,000 words. But I was really good at writing thousand-word essays, so I told myself, I just have to write 75 thousand-word essays.”
Where I write:
I'm asking each guest to give us a peek behind the scenes. This is a cafe Hannah loves to write at in her new town.
🏃♀️ Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahhoward.
💌 Sign up for Hannah’s Substack Letters from Hannah.
🎧 And, of course, pop in those earbuds and listen to Hannah Howard on How Her Food Memoirs Became So Much More on your favorite podcast platform.
Online reading about writing:
Inside the Push to Diversify the Book Business - A good read by Marcela Valdes for the New York Times. As she states in her Twitter thread, “Things don't just sell. They get sold… These are decisions, not inevitabilities.”
“For generations, America’s major publishers focused almost entirely on white readers. Now a new cadre of executives like Lisa Lucas is trying to open up the industry.”
Other works of note and inspo I’m diggin’:
P-Valley - Omg, this show. Katori Hall created such a compelling world in The Pynk strip club and Chucalissa, Mississippi. Most of the characters are poor and facing unspeakable struggles, yet Hall writes them richly, with an empathetic, even hand. Marathoning this show makes me want to read all of Katori Hall’s plays.
I’ll leave you with this transparent money convo for writers courtesy of Khalisa Rae (and all the generous souls who shared their numbers):
Until next time, HAPPY BLEEDING!
So… ROLL CALL! 🗣️
Reply with your favorite thing you’ve read this week (and your Twitter handle). I’ll include answers in the next edition!