Archives, Blood, and Memory: Memoir in the Age of Digital Records and DNA

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
NEMLA 2019
contact email: 

The digital age is changing the way we access the past. Previously, writers often accepted family lore, the recollections of elders, as a way to access the past. However, in the digital age, lore may be proven false. A recent post on a Facebook group reported that a common disappointment for many users is that their DNA results indicate no Native American ancestry despite family legend of a great-grandmother “Cherokee Princess.”   

Creative nonfiction writers will discuss how their use of family stories as a basis for personal narrative has changed in the age of online archives and $100 DNA testing. Panelists will read from their own work and then discuss how electronic archival and other newly available resources of the digital age influenced their work. The panelists and audience members will then discuss whether digital records might become the driving force that guides personal narrative, or whether, as Tobias Wolff says, "memory has its own story to tell."   Submit 150-200 word abstracts by September 30 to NEMLA