A few weeks ago, five people who were selling papers outside Hyde Park were arrested by the police for obstruction. He preferred to serve his term. The magistrate, in passing sentence, stated that he was not influenced by the nature of the literature that was being sold; he was concerned merely with the fact of obstruction, and that this offence had technically been committed.
We don't meet during the summer. We have "socials" in June and early December. Click on Events for current details. This is an informal gathering of people who write memoirs or biography, attended by professional and academic writers as well as people writing personal or family memoirs and a few who are working up the courage to do so.
It may not be worth making a special trip to DC for, but if you're going to be here anyway, it is worth scheduling your visit around one of these meetings, if you have a special interest in life story writing.
Area Biography Group is open to all who are seriously interested in reading, writing, or researching biographies.
The group was inspired by Marc Pachter, then chief historian of the National Portrait Gallery, who organized an all-day symposium on "Biography: Held December 6,the symposium was attended by people.
Three biographers talked about their work: David McCullough author of Mornings on Horseback: Marc Pachter, Judy Nelson, and others wondered if members of the audience would like to continue meeting, so Marc announced at the end of the day that those interested in meeting to discuss biography writing should send him a postcard and he would schedule a meeting.
In Februaryabout 30 people attended the first meeting, at Chick and Judy Nelson's home. The group continued to meet once a month, first in people's homes, then in independent schools first Maret, and then and now at the wonderful Washington International School.
Now we meet most often in the main building, in the Goodman Room formerly the Terrace Room.
The Biographer's Art — guides the discussions, on topics chosen by the group, and provides invaluable insights into what makes biographies work.
At potluck socials held twice a year, in December and in June, where we schmooze and get to know each other, some members read brief selections from their work. In a discussion of editing, one member spoke of "research rapture," apropos the stuff you are so proud you found that you want to put it in even if it doesn't fit.
And Marc Pachter reminded us that as biographers our obligation is not principally to inform but rather to fascinate our readers "If you are fascinated with the subject, your obligation is to make me fascinated.
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Jean Strouse in her biography of Alice James uses traditional structure to show Alice trapped in a prison of Jamesness. Everyone agrees, more than half the pleasure of these meetings is Marc's comments. Links immediately below are to sites of members of the WBG.
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