Session and Speaker Preview: Andrew Reiner, Writing Personal Narrative? Drop That Facebook Face!

Andrew © Eleanor Kaufman 2015

Andrew © Eleanor Kaufman 2015

The New York Times, the Washington Post magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and many other publications have published Andrew Reiner’s essays. NPR and the CBC have interviewed him. When he’s not sharing his thoughts with the general public, he’s encouraging his writing and cultural students in the Honors College at Towson University to think critically.

At HippoCamp 2016, Andrew will be urging us to reconsider the selves we project on social media. In Writing Personal Narrative? Drop That Facebook Face (Create B1), Andrew will explore how social media can prevent us from finding the vulnerability and truth that makes our own stories so compelling.

Andrew took a few moments to tell us why he’s excited to present at HippoCamp.

Hippocampus: Share something that you hope attendees will take away from your talk that isn’t found on the program description.

So much about our lives today–so much about our consciousness–is consumed with branding a Like-able image that bleeds into our offline lives, as well. This outward-focused reflex makes for safe, superficial personal narratives, lacking in the honest courage needed. This discussion, and its accompanying exercises, will help us to tap deeper into the complexities and truths that are the lifeblood of our own stories that matter most to us.

Who would benefit most from your session and why?

Anyone who worries about how they’re going to come off if they tell their own story too honestly, and/or anyone who questions or doubts her own perspective on an experience(s) that needs to be written about.

What is your best advice for those attending a writing conference, whether it’s for newbies or veterans? 

Don’t come in trying to impress people, closed to the wisdom others who seem less accomplished than you have to offer. Bring the Buddhist Beginner’s Mind–that sense of curiosity, awe and wonder. You’ll take away so much more for your writing, and for yourself, than you can imagine.

Aside from speaking, what you are most looking forward to about being part of the HippoCamp? 

For too long, I’ve been writing removed from other writers, a bit of a rock, an island unto myself (hat tip to Paul Simon). I’m looking forward to returning back to mainland.


Join Andrew and return to our creative nonfiction community this August. Early-bird registrations are going fast, so register for HippoCamp 2016 today!