Words from life, movies and memoirs: “Being Flynn” author to speak

Nick Flynn, whose first memoir sparked the major motion picture, “Being Flynn,” international reviews and much press attention, will visit Sierra Nevada College on Sept. 5-6 to kick off the 2014-15 Writers in the Woods literary speaker series and to introduce the college’s Common Read book for the year.

Nick Flynn, taken by Geordie Wood

Nick Flynn, taken by Geordie Wood

“We’re very fortunate to have Nick Flynn as our guest speaker,” said English Program Chair June Saraceno. “His poetry books and memoirs have captivated critics and casual readers alike. He has worked as a ship’s captain, an electrician, and as a case-worker with homeless adults, so he has some interesting real-world stories to tell.”

Writers in the Woods brings acclaimed authors, poets and screenwriters to Incline Village’s four-year, private university for readings and workshops throughout the academic year. The college also annually adopts a book for its Common Read, which is read, discussed and interpreted throughout the curriculum. This year’s book is “Being Flynn” by Nick Flynn.

Flynn will speak on the campus at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, in the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences building, Room 139, and will follow with a morning workshop from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 6. The Friday reading is free, while the workshop will cost $50 for nonstudents. More information and sign-ups can be found at sierranevada.edu.

Nick Flynn's book, "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City," is repackaged as "Being Flynn," after a movie was made about the story.

Nick Flynn’s book, “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” is repackaged as “Being Flynn,” after a movie was made about the story.

The Brooklyn-based writer has published three memoirs, but is best known for his first memoir, “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” about reuniting at a homeless shelter with his estranged father, a narcissistic alcoholic. Both are struggling writers: the elder Flynn homeless and intensely dramatic, the younger Flynn employed at the shelter, yet battling his past. This book, now repackaged as “Being Flynn,” was made into a movie of the same name in 2012, starring Robert DeNiro as Flynn’s father, Paul Dano as Flynn and Julianne Moore, as his suicidal mother.

The book, published in 2004, earned Flynn the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir in 2005 and has been translated into 15 languages. The film generated good reviews (New York Times – there is honest feeling, genuine humanity and real intelligence in this movie) as well as kudos for DeNiro and Dano.

being flynn movieFrom the experience of watching his life shaped into a movie, Flynn recently published “The Reenactments” in January 2013, a commentary on making the film and the memories it evokes for the author. The publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, promotes the book on its website with this praise from “Devotion” author Dani Shapiro, “Eloquent, precise, intense and profoundly moving, “The Reenactments” is a powerful and beautiful story about grief, survival, and making art.”

The second book of the memoir trilogy is “The Ticking IS the Bomb,” a book about the decision to have a child. Flynn is married to actress, Lili Taylor. A creative writing professor at the University of Houston during spring semesters, Flynn first entered the literary world with his poetry. He is the author of three books of poetry, and the winner of winner of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for “Some Ether”, his debut collection of poetry.

“His insight into crafting his life experiences into memoir will be valuable for writers in the area as well as for those who have considered telling their story, or passing their family history down to the next generation,” Saraceno said.

With Flynn’s journey as an author and his experience in crafting poetry and teaching creative writing, this first event for Sierra Nevada College’s Writers in the Woods should prove to be inspiring, entertaining and educational.

Nick Flynn’s visit is the first of a year-long line-up of well-known writers. Those include:

Sept. 19 – Literary Lollapalooza
A gathering of writers, editors, publishers, book vendors and more to celebrate literature in the Tahoe region.

Oct. 17-18 – Terry Allen
Terry Allen, who has received both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment of the Arts award, is a musician, visual artist, sculptor, painter and writer, blending the forms into museum/theater artworks that reference his Texas roots.

Nov. 7-8 – Kevin Fedarko
Kevin Fedarko’s work has appeared in Esquire, National Geographic Adventure and has been anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing of 2004 and 2006. His latest work, “Emerald Mile,” won the National Outdoor Book Award.

March 6-7 – Mark Maynard
Mark Maynard is the author of “Grind,” a collection of short stories set in Reno. His short fiction has been widely published, and he is the fiction editor of the literary journal, “The Meadow.”

April 10-11 – Gailmarie Pahmeier and David Lee
Poet Gailmarie Pahmeier has published the poetry collection, “The Rural Lives of Nice Girls,” as well as several other books. She teaches at the University of Nevada, Reno. David Lee was Utah’s first poet laureate and is the author of 15 volumes of poetry.