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New book explores the radical power of personal narrative

Melissa Febos has bared all in a best-selling series of memoirs and has written about her experiences with things that most people don’t have the courage or even the language to speak about. Her first book Whip Smart is a memoir about her life as a sex worker and addict in New York City. The essay collection Abandon Me is about connection and relationships. Girlhood, which just came out last year, is about her childhood, but also about the narratives that women and girls are told about what it means to be female.

In this episode of the Talk of Iowa Book Club, Charity Nebbe talks with Febos about her new book about writing, called Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative.


  • Melissa Febos, associate professor at the University of Iowa who teaches in the nonfiction writing program
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa