An Evening with Capote, Ginsberg, Mailer and More | Lawrence Grobel - Rancho La Puerta
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An Evening with Capote, Ginsberg, Mailer and More | Lawrence Grobel

Week of April 29, 2017

An Evening with Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Winters, Huston, Debbie Reynolds, Miles Davis and Many More
Writer Lawrence Grobel shows video interviews he did with these icons and discusses how they became subjects for some of his books.

Autobiography and the Memoir
Understanding oneself and others by looking inward. A seminar in self-analysis. Uncovering the highlights and the traumas of one’s life; shaping and structuring it into a narrative.  “A memoir,” Gore Vidal wrote in the introduction to his, “is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.”  How have writers, scientists, statesmen, soldiers, adventurers, politicians, businessmen, singers, artists looked at their own lives, reflected on the choices they made, the paths taken?  And can learning about their decisions influence one’s own? That is the idea behind this seminar. To be introduced to the memoirs and autobiographies of accomplished people, to discuss what they did and did not do in their lives, and then to try and understand one’s own life by writing about specific incidents and broader philosophical thoughts. This will be a one hour, three day reading and writing seminar. Books that will be discussed will cover the first autobiography (Benvenuto Cellini) to recent graphic memoirs like Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Handouts will include excerpts from contemporary writers. There will be writing assignments of a personal nature, which we will workshop.


Lawrence GrobelLawrence Grobel is a novelist, journalist, biographer, poet and teacher. Four of his 20 books have been singled out as Best Books of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly and many have appeared on Best Seller lists. He is the recipient of a NEA Fellowship for his fiction. PEN gave his Conversations with Capote a Special Achievement Award. James A. Michener called his biography, The Hustons, “a masterpiece.” His book on Al Pacino was named Best International Book of 2009 by the French Drama Guild.  The Art of the Interview is used as a text in many journalism schools. Writer’s Digest called him “a legend among journalists.” Joyce Carol Oates dubbed him “The Mozart of Interviewers” and Playboy singled him out as “The Interviewer’s Interviewer” after publishing his interviews with Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Henry Fonda and Marlon Brando. He has written for dozens of magazines and has been a Contributing Editor for PlayboyWorld (New Zealand), and Trendy (Poland). He served in the Peace Corps, teaching at the Ghana Institute of Journalism; created the M.F.A. in Professional Writing for Antioch University; and taught in the English Dept. at UCLA for ten years. He has appeared on CNN, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose and in two documentaries, one on J.D. Salinger, the other Al Pacino’s Wilde Salome. His blog, books and articles can be found on his website: and at’s Kindle Store.