Melanie Brooks is a freelance writer, college professor and mother living in Nashua, N.H. with her husband, two children and yellow Lab. She’s the author of Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art From Trauma (February 2017, Beacon Press). Melanie received her master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. She teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., Merrimack College in Andover, Mass. and Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Bustle, Creative Nonfiction, The Manifest-Station, Hippocampus, the Huffington Post, Modern Loss, Solstice Literary Magazine, The Recollectors, the Stonecoast Review and Word Riot. She received the Michael Steinberg Prize for Creative Nonfiction in Solstice Literary Magazine’s annual contest. Her almost-completed memoir explores the lasting impact of living with the ten-year secret of her father’s HIV disease before his death in 1995. Writing is the vehicle through which she’s learning to understand that impact.
In her attempt to write a memoir about her father's death from a secret AIDS infection in 1985, Melanie Brooks was left with some painful questions: What does it take to write an honest memoir? And what happens to us when we embark on that journey? Would she manage it? Brooks sought guidance from the memoirists who most moved her to answer these questions.Writing Hard Stories features some of the country's most admired writers discussing their treks through dark memories and breakthrough moments, and it demonstrates the healing power of putting words to experience. A unique compilation of authentic stories about the death of a partner, parent, or child; about violence and shunning; and about the process of writing, the book will serve as a tool for teachers of writing and give readers an intimate look into the lives of the authors they love.
Authors profiled in Writing Hard Stories include: Andre Dubus III, Sue William Silverman, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Joan Wickersham, Kyoko Mori, Richard Hoffman, Suzanne Strempek Shea, Abigail Thomas, Monica Wood, Mark Doty, Edwidge Dantict, Marianne Leone, Jerald Walker, Kate Bornstein, Jessica Handler, Richard Blanco, Alysia Abbott, and Kim Stafford.