5 Publishers That Offer Compelling Memoirs

Reading memoirs is a great way to get inside the minds of different people and see the world from a new perspective. These books can give readers an idea of what life was like for everyday people during important moments of history or help them understand the challenges of living with a disability. If you're interested in stories like these, check out the works presented by the publishing companies listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Companies That Publish Great Memoirs

Name Notable Works
Heliotrope Books Just Say Yes: A Marijiuana Memoir Playing Catch with Strangers
Plunkett Lake Press Outcast: A Jewish Girl in Wartime Berlin Looking Back: Memoir of a Psychoanalyst
Ant Press Paw Prints In Oman: Dogs, Mogs and Me Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools
Fish Publishing Fish Anthology 2019 Franklin's Grace and Other Stories
Brown Paper Press The Inheritance of Shame Trove: A Woman's Search for Truth and Buried Treasure

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 a Memoir

Things Every Writer Should Have

  • A journal where you can keep track of your thoughts & ideas
  • Some coffee or tea to get you through late-night bursts of inspiration
  • A comfortable keyboard so you don't end up with carpal-tunnel syndrome
  • A laptop that's easy to bring along to your local coffee shop
  • A height-adjustable desk to help you avoid hurting your lower back
  • A foam roller for when you inevitably hurt your lower back anyway

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)

The Power Of Autobiography

In Depth

Deciding what book to read next isn't always an easy task. With so many options out there, it can be difficult for bibliophiles to pick their next literary adventure. In recent years, the memoir genre has seen an explosion in popularity, and readers seem to have endless appetites for stories that artfully describe their authors' experiences. If you want to learn more about some of the organizations that bring this type of nonfiction writing to life, then here are, in no particular order, five publishers releasing fascinating memoirs.

Coming in at #1 is Heliotrope Books. Based in Lower Manhattan and founded by Naomi Rosenblatt, this independent press specializes in publishing smart, important works that defy easy categorization. Often, the books that it puts out span more than one genre, like the 2015 offering "Just Say Yes: A Marijuana Memoir," by Catherine Hiller. Heliotrope, as a Greek word, means "turn-to-sun," a description that dovetails with this group's dedication to illuminating unexplored areas of experience.

Examples of memoirs that Heliotrope has released include "Bent But Not Broken," which covers a rare medical condition, "Playing Catch with Strangers," a collection of personal essays, and "Bankruptcy: A Love Story." In recognition of its work, this small press has received positive coverage from a number of media outlets, such as Literary Hub and Honeysuckle Magazine.

In recognition of its work, this small press has received positive coverage from a number of media outlets, such as Literary Hub and Honeysuckle Magazine.

In the #2 spot is Plunkett Lake Press. Founded in 2010 by Helen Epstein and Patrick Mehr, this small press, which is dedicated to all types of life writing, releases both paperbacks and electronic books in a variety of genres, such as biography, military history, and psychology. In addition, it has published a number of memoirs, which touch on topics as diverse as Berlin during World War II and turn-of-the-century Prague.

Specific titles from Plunkett Lake Press in the memoir genre range from "The Pillar of Salt" by Albert Memmi to "The World of Yesterday" by Stefan Zweig. With a large number of books published, Plunkett Lake Press has an impressive list of authors, who have received coverage in outlets such as Tablet Magazine, The Arts Fuse, and The NY Jewish Week.

At #3 is Ant Press. This small publishing company focuses primarily on compelling, well-written memoirs. Established in 2010 by Victoria Twead, it accepts submissions directly from authors, without the need for literary agents. In turn, Ant Press proofreads, edits, and creates covers for accepted submissions and helps market books in different formats. Some of its better-known nonfiction titles are "Paw Prints in Oman" and "Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools."

Established in 2010 by Victoria Twead, it accepts submissions directly from authors, without the need for literary agents.

Ant Press offers a variety of other services too, such as editing, formatting, and end-to-end publishing packages. These offerings are particularly helpful for those looking to self-publish their own works. Elsewhere, it releases a diverse array of memoirs, like "The Coconut Chronicles" by Patrick Youngblood and "Smart as a Whip" by Jacky Donovan. The founder of Ant Press has also penned an instructional guide for budding writers entitled "How to Write a Bestselling Memoir."

Coming in at #4 is Fish Publishing. Based in County Cork, Ireland, this group has put out works by new and emerging authors since 1994. Each year, it hosts a series of writing contests, soliciting entries in categories such as poetry, flash fiction, short story, and short memoir. Additionally, it releases an anthology of works by winning authors, which is launched during the West Cork Literary Festival.

Beyond its well-known writing contests, Fish Publishing also offers a number of other resources for aspiring writers. Its editorial services, for instance, range from a mentorship program to feedback and critiques on short memoirs and manuscripts. Furthermore, it runs specialized courses in several genres including memoir, which in the past have been taught by chief editor Mary-Jane Holmes. Authors who have been featured in the Fish Anthologies include Vanessa Gebbie, Molly McCloskey, and Michael Logan.

Authors who have been featured in the Fish Anthologies include Vanessa Gebbie, Molly McCloskey, and Michael Logan.

Last but not least, at #5 is Brown Paper Press. Operating out of Long Beach, California, this organization, founded by Wendy Thomas Russell and Jennifer Volland in 2014, focuses on progressive nonfiction. With a particular emphasis on contemporary culture and new perspectives, BPP publishes titles in genres like memoir and illustrated children's literature. Examples of its works include "The Inheritance of Shame," which explores one author's experiences in conversion therapy, and "Trove," a chronicle of a real-life treasure hunt.

BPP accepts submissions from authors whose works mesh with its forward-thinking mission, in nonfiction areas ranging from pop culture to parenting. It fosters close relationships with its authors, often publicizing events to promote their books. Elsewhere, on its website, Brown Paper Press maintains an active blog, which offers tips to prospective memoirists, provides updates on its works, and scopes out the best parts of local libraries.