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In Their Own Words: Memoirs of Lives Recalled

Conundrum by Jan Morris

Afternoon Course

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0166
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Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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There’s no more exciting or fearsome plot than the course of an unexpected life. These first-person stories draw us into lives played out against the backdrop of history.

Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at three remarkable memoirs, as different in approach and style as the lives they led. A Black comic recounts his childhood in apartheid South Africa, a famous writer conjures a fabled youth in Paris of the 1920s, and a beloved travel writer gives a spellbinding account of her riskiest journey, becoming another physical version of herself. Each session includes readings from the featured work and archival film clips and stills.

Lukinson, whose films have received three Emmys and seven Writer’s Guild Awards, teaches at NYU and the 92nd Street Y. Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.

Session Information

Conundrum by Jan Morris

A true adventure story, by one of the great modern travel writers as well as historian and war correspondent. In middle age, Morris undertook the risky but essential decision to physically become a woman, following “the melody she heard within,” while remaining a devoted partner, father, and famous English writer.

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