Memoir: In Search of Our FathersSunday, May 7 | 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Residence Inn Berkeley - Ballroom 1
We often find ourselves looking back on our parents’ lives to understand our own place in the world. This might be particularly tricky when, for example, your father led a secret life in the CIA, as Leslie Absher’s did. In her memoir Spy Daughter, Queer Girl Absher describes what it was like to grow up gay and the daughter of a spy in a family where secrecy had a seat at the table. It was never a secret that The Kneeling Man referred to in the title of Leta Seletzky’s memoir was her father. In the famous photograph taken just after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Seletzky’s father, Marrell McCollough, is shown kneeling beside King, trying to stem the blood from his fatal wound. There’s much more to the story though—McCollough was there as a member of the activist group the Invaders, but for other reasons as well: reasons so far from what being Black in America meant to her that Seletzky set out to learn what she could about his life and motivations. Decades in the making, Circle Way, Mary Ann Hogan’s posthumously published multigenerational reflection on writing and family, hovers somewhere between journalism and poetry. Her relationship with her father, esteemed San Francisco Chronicle literary critic Bill Hogan, and each of their relationships with their craft, are key. Mary Ann’s husband and fellow journalist Eric Newton worked closely on the book, which is illustrated with her father’s original sketches and watercolors. After Hogan’s untimely passing, Newton realized his promise to see her “unfinished life’s work” through to publication. Join the acclaimed Sylvia Brownrigg as she guides the authors through this excavation into how the lives of our fathers may offer insight into our own; it’s really only once the digging starts that the real questions come to the surface.
Book signing information: Sausalito Books by the Bay, at the venue