lara lillibridge with coffee by bookshelfLara Lillbridge attended HippoCamp 2016. She no doubt left inspired, and she’s has been busy ever since. Her debut memoir, Girlish, hits shelves this fall.

We’re delighted to welcome Lara back to Lancaster, this time as a speaker. On Saturday, she’ll present “Genre Blender,”a session in our craft track Saturday, and Friday evening, she’ll read an excerpt from Girlish as part of our Night of Nonfiction & Debut Author Panel.

We can’t wait to learn from Lara in her session, and learn more about her publication journey. In the meantime, we’re sharing this HippoCamp speaker Q&A.

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HM: Without sharing any spoilers, what can attendees expect from your session?

LL: Unexpected forms clear out expectations in both the reader and writer and creates space for something new. Blending genres allows the writer to delve into emotion that previously seemed just out of reach. We will play Guess That Genre and examine some of my favorite hybrid works, all while enjoying a fine selection of animal mash-up slides.

Who would benefit the most from your session or workshop?

This is a great class for anyone interested in experimental writing, or anyone who simply hates following rules and/or being told what to do or how to write.


Literary citizenship is so important today, and by being part of our conference, you’re contributing to the CNF community — why is sharing with others important to you?

Sharing forces me to pay closer attention to the subject, but more importantly, whenever I get to interact with other writers I come away from the experience with renewed enthusiasm and inspiration. I tend to be shy, so presenting forces me to open up and channel my latent extrovert.

small hedgehog with a lion's face in someone's hands

What is this furry thing? Find out in Lara’s hybrid session. [image:]

Taking off your presenter hat, what are you hoping to learn as an attendee at HippoCamp?

I really need to find writing partners—people to share work with on a regular basis. I also need to learn more about promotion, self-editing…oh, so many things!


Lancaster is an amazing city – since you’ve visited before, what suggestions do you have for those who haven’t been here yet?

I found Lancaster to be very adorable last year. I loved being able to walk to restaurants and had several interesting conversations with locals. I have a goal of concocting some sort of epic selfie with this dude, here [image of statue of man reading newspaper]. I’m seriously considering what accessories I need to bring to accomplish that mission.


bronze statue of man reading newspaper on a bench in a lancaster brick alcove

Some of Lancaster’s art at Steinman Park.


What was a recent and memorable work of creative nonfiction you read – whether a book or shorter piece? (And what did you love about it?)

I just finished Family Trouble, Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family Edited by Joy Castro. It’s an essay collection with pieces by Alison Bechdel, Dinty Moore, Sue William Silverman, Sandra Scofield, and Richard Hoffman, among others. It gave me faith that whatever the fallout from my memoir, I will live through it and be better off for having written it. It’s a great book for anyone writing about family, particularly if such writing keeps you up at night, as it does me.

Anything else?

Experimental writing is important to me because it has allowed me a way to condense stagnant pages of prose into something vivid and compelling. Personally, I have found the most publishing success with my experimental pieces—it’s a form that many publishers are interested in right now.


Lara, we’re so excited that you’re a part of HippoCamp, and “Guess that Genre” sounds so much fun!

To learn more about Lara, visit her speaker bio.


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