What does 'Momoir' mean to you?
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I'm leading a session at a Canadian Creative Nonfiction conference in May, and I'm curious what you think of the word 'momoir'.

Diminutive, marketing term, or movement?

Best Regards,

Christin Geall


  • I think if the writing is informed by the writer's identity as mother, than it can be deemed momoir, even if its not exactly about motherhood. i.e. I've written much about the push and pull of working and juggling career and life, without really talking about my kid, but the push and pull is due to being a mother. 


    I also agree with Ruth that it should be up to writer as to how they identify their work.

  • Wow, I'd never even heard of this term before. I think the term represents a movement. Women today are not afraid to say they are moms as well as writers. In my opinion, this is important - if we own who we are, and proudly, they'll have no choice but to change their perception of moms (and especially SAHMs). It might take time, sure, but so did the feminist movement.
  • I would think that it should be subject based. If an author chooses not to identify herself or her writing as maternal, we should respect that, and not limit ourselves to a single label merely because we've procreated.
  • Thanks Liesl for piping in!

    I've noticed the 'momoir' class posters and visited the site. Looks like a smart business idea, and, also, fun. I read 'Between Interruptions' a few years ago and plan to get Howard's take on the word too. Good to know what 'momoir' has offered you. Can I ask: Do you think momoir is subject driven? Does momoir have to involve mothering in some form to qualify as 'momoir'? (i.e. relationship with kids/partner/parents/the self) Or is anything a mother writes momoir? 

  • I've got to pipe in here because I really resonate with the term, Momoir. Maybe because I was introduced to it by taking The Momoir Project writing classes with Cori Howard. She's the author of Between Interruptions - a book a of personal essays that are exquisitely written about the "truth" of motherhood experiences. And that's how she teaches her classes - as a craft of writing personal, honest, real essays.(You can contact her at [email protected])

    I have a "mommy blog" but I like to think that my work is more "momoir" and less "bloggy" because Momoir to me suggests more depth, attention to writing, and no hidden sales pitches.

    I know it's also a marketing term - a way to categorize the lit that's coming from mothers. On one hand, it's insulting that a memoir by a mother is termed Momoir and a memoir by a father would be termed Memoir. On the other hand, it's telling that we're creating a whole genre with our need for our voices to be heard! 

  • Hmm, not the least bit surprising. Still stings though. You know I read a lot of those magazines and just the other day I was remarking on the fact that women weren't really represented and I was told "Well, at least there are women in the magazines." I had to bite my tongue on that one. Just because you throw works by 3 or 4 women in a magazine doesn't necessarily mean anything considering there may be 5 or 6 articles by men and two small articles and a book reveiw by a woman.
  • Wow!  I think I have been living with my head in the sand.  This is really eye-opening to me, and a clear reminder that the female voice is entirely too quiet (or shushed).  I do wonder if the number of submissions to these magazines reflects the same lopsided numbers or if women were simply filtered.  It would be interesting to know that too.  This has changed my day....I have some thinking to do about this one.  Thanks for sharing it.


  • Fair enough, Kelli. You make some excellent points about the endless categorization of women writing, and now you've got me fired up too.  I guess I have just read so many women authors in the last few years (the up and coming voices of writing) that I forget how far we have to go to mainstream the voice.  Without much forethought, I have completely excluded men from the entire process of my first book.  I got only one phone call from a man, wondering why he wasn't included in my research about marriage, but all I wanted was the female perspective.  The book was written about women, for women, and by a woman.  I will be challenged to write my next book so that not only are the men included, but interested, intrigued and engaged in what I have to say.  I want to be called a writer too :)