Writers Network Meeting
August 6, 2021
10 to 11 a.m.
One-hour Zoom meeting
Chronicling a Time, People and Place Nearly Lost
Vivian Gibson grew up in segregated St. Louis, Missouri in the 1950s. Her tightknit community was razed to make way for a freeway, displacing thousands of African American residents in the name of “urban renewal.” Vivian will talk about her journey from writing for oneself, to being on a mission to chronicle a disappearing history. She reminds us that a memoire tells the complex story of a community as well as a writer’s personal journey. She mined her childhood memories for the sounds, smells, emotions and familiar faces that could prevent a way of life from slipping away forever. The Last Children of Mill Creek was published by Belt Publishing in April 2020.
Her presentation will:
- Help writers understand the importance of documenting significant social changes as part of our personal stories.
- Broaden your writer’s perspective on the world by examining local historical events through different cultural lenses.
- Sharpen your skills as a memoirist by examining what is personal and what has broader social significance in your story.
- Build confidence in your role as a chronicler of an historical event or era.
Vivian Gibson began her writing career after retirement, writing short stories about the tightknit African-American community into which her parents had settled to raise their family of seven children. Her college-educated mother and hardworking father provide the framework for telling the story of her family’s survival during a time when minority communities were destroyed in the name of “progress.”
A debut writer at the age of 70, Vivian Gibson’s memoire, The Last Children of Mill Creek, has been reviewed and praised, by the Times Literary Supplement (January 22, 2021), Poets & Writers (November/December, 2020), Missouri Life Magazine (June 1, 2021).