5 Authors Turning Their Personal Experiences Into Meaningful Literature

Many people pick up a novel if they want a riveting yarn, but memoirs - filled as they are with true first-person stories - can be even more compelling. The authors included here have put their diverse life experiences to the page, transforming tales of childhood, health crises, and unexpected friendships into profound and page-turning reads. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Authors of Powerful Memoirs

Author Book(s)
Michelle D'Avella The Bright Side of a Broken Heart
Michael Konik The Unexpected Guest, In Search of Burningbush
Tricia Barker Angels in the OR
Kergan Edwards-Stout Never Turn Your Back on the Tide
Colin MacIntyre Hometown Tales: Highlands and Hebrides (Contributor)

The History of Memoirs

Memoirs can be traced back all the way to the days of Ancient Rome. Julius Caesar wrote about his experience in battle in his work Commentarii de Bello Gallico, which translates to Commentaries on the Gallic War. Documenting life is also a longstanding custom in Japan. The Japanese tradition of Nikki bungaku, or poetic diary, dates back to around the year 935. This unique form of journaling is made up of several autobiographical poems, interspersed with sections of prose. In the 18th century, memoirists were generally people who were exceptional in their profession, who wrote in order to provide the public with an official account of their exploits. In the 20th century, many of these books began to focus on war, especially World War II, a subject that has been explored for decades through all sorts of media. Memoirs written by ordinary people began to gain popularity in the early 1990s, as a result of technological advances (such as the Internet) that made it easier for people to share their stories with the world.

How to Write Your Own Story

8 Great Movies Based on Memoirs

  1. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
  2. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)
  3. A Mighty Heart (2007)
  4. Eat Pray Love (2010)
  5. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  6. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  7. October Sky (1999)
  8. Persepolis (2007)

In Depth

Whether it's a story about healing from heartbreak, a near death experience, or forming unexpected friendships, writing is often a cathartic process. Publishing a book in order to share with others the events that shape and define us can be powerful and moving. Here, in no particular order, are authors penning profound prose about themselves.

Starting off the list at #1 is Michelle D'Avella, a Breathwork teacher, mentor, and writer. She is the author of The Bright Side of a Broken Heart, which explores the depression she experienced following a surprise breakup. She offers private healing sessions to help people move their energy through breathing. Her group workshops focus on resiliency, clarity, and finding your purpose.

D'Avella offers a variety of self led courses and membership programs designed to help students clear blocks related to issues around finances, self love, and forgiveness. Her writing has been published on Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, TinyBuddha, and Elephant Journal. She resides in Los Angeles.

Her writing has been published on Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, TinyBuddha, and Elephant Journal.

Entering the list at #2 is Michael Konik. His book, The Unexpected Guest, chronicles the friendship he developed with a neighborhood homeless man who he eventually took into his household. Dave Zirin of The Nation hails the story as a pleasure to read, while Kirkus Reviews praises the author's amusing storytelling style.

Konik's work has been featured in numerous publications, including Travel and Leisure and Sports Illustrated. He previously penned a column on gambling for Cigar Aficionado, and one on golf for the Delta Air Lines magazine, SKY. The winner of the 2016 Barrelhouse Prize for his novel, Year 14, he is a graduate of New York University.

Coming in at #3 is Tricia Barker, whose memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, relays the story of her near death experience following a car accident. She has shared her story on The Doctor Oz Show and I Survived: Beyond and Back.

She has shared her story on The Doctor Oz Show and I Survived: Beyond and Back.

Barker is a graduate of The University of Texas and received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Goddard College. She interviews others who have had near-death experiences, as well as researchers, healers, spiritual teachers, and mediums via her YouTube Channel. Her poetry and essays have been published in The Binnacle, The Paterson Literary Review, and The Midwest Quarterly.

In the #4 spot is Kergan Edwards-Stout, an award winning director and screenwriter. His book, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide, details his experiences during the AIDS crisis and the discovery of his husband's double life, which included multiple affairs. Kirkus Reviews calls the story powerful. It is also the recipient of an IndieReader Discovery Award.

As an actor in his early years, Edwards-Stout did commercials and print work for Toyota, Honda, and Isuzu. During his time at The Los Angeles Free Clinic, he created traveling theatrical productions to educate teens about high risk behaviors. In 2011, The Human Rights Campaign named him one of its Fathers of the Year. He has also served as keynote speaker for the Louisiana Department of Health's annual conference.

In 2011, The Human Rights Campaign named him one of its Fathers of the Year.

Finishing up the list at #5 is Colin MacIntyre, a multi award winning musician, producer, author, and playwright. His memoir, The Boy in the Bubble, describes his childhood on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. The book is part of the Hometown Tales: Highlands and Hebrides series, which celebrates regional voices.

Under the name Mull Historical Society, MacIntyre has released several acclaimed albums, including his Gold selling debut, Loss. He was voted Top Creative Talent at the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards, and has toured worldwide with The Strokes, Elbow, and REM. He is the son of the late Kenny MacIntyre, a political and industrial correspondent for BBC Scotland.