‘Whip Smart’ author to read from new memoir

Katie Kowalski, arts@ptleader.com
Posted 3/7/17

Brooklyn author Melissa Febos returns to Port Townsend to read from her analytical yet emotional collection of essays, “Abandon Me,” at 7 p.m., Sunday, March 12 at The Writers’ Workshoppe and …

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‘Whip Smart’ author to read from new memoir

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Brooklyn author Melissa Febos returns to Port Townsend to read from her analytical yet emotional collection of essays, “Abandon Me,” at 7 p.m., Sunday, March 12 at The Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Books, 820 Water St. The event is free.

“Her writing is gorgeous, honest and, like an exquisite work of art, cannot be resisted,” said Workshoppe owner Anna Quinn in a press release.

Febos, whose sea captain father lives in town, is the author of the critically acclaimed 2011 memoir “Whip Smart,” which is about the four years she spent as a professional dominatrix in New York City.

She’s spoken in PT in the past, and has led several workshops here, including one taking place this week that’s already booked up, Quinn said, noting that past workshop participants have said Febos is one of the best teachers they’ve ever had. Febos is also scheduled to teach at Centrum’s 2017 Writers’ Conference.

In her newest memoir, Febos examines the forces of love and the need for connection – with family, lovers and oneself – through the lens of art, mythology and psychology, Quinn said. With each essay, she dives deeper into the relationships that shaped and defined her – never once allowing herself to float back safely to the surface.

“She writes of her determined, sometimes obsessive desire to fill the holes created by the abandonment of family, friends and self,” said Quinn.

“She writes, too, of the skills she developed in constructing barriers to protect herself while simultaneously avoiding love and being consumed by it.”

Febos’ writings have appeared in several publications and received many awards. She’s been featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” CNN, “Anderson Live” and elsewhere, and is currently assistant professor of creative writing at Monmouth University and an MFA faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and also serves on the board of directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

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