Lee Smith gave the annual John Hersey Memorial Address to open the second session of the 2008 Seminar. In a talk that was both extremely funny and unexpectedly moving, Smith recounted her development as a writer when, as a young girl, she would write herself into Nancy Drew and Bobsie Twins adventures. Smith talks about how, after her initial obligatory autobiographical efforts, she discovered that she could find her voice though the creation of the wide variety of characters that she would imagine and create. She goes on to talk about the consolation and the rebirth that writing offered in the aftermath of terrible personal loss. Lee’s subtle balancing of humor and pain, leavened by her warmth and her sturdy, both-feet-on-the-ground sensibility, is truly affecting—this one kicked off the session with a lot of energy and soul.
From KWLS 2008: New Voices