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Melissa Febos on writing and writing personal narrative

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Melissa Febos has bared all in a best-selling series of memoirs. She has written about her experiences with things that most people don’t have the courage or even language to speak about. Her first book, Whip Smart: A Memoir, is about her life as a sex worker and addict in New York City. The essay collection, Abandon Me: Memoirs, is about connection and relationships, and Girlhood, released last year, is about her childhood, but also about the narratives that women and girls are told about what it means to be female. Now Febos has written a book about writing called Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to Febos about her new book.

Later in the podcast, a conversation about daylight saving time. It was first introduced in the United States during World War I as a way to save energy. Since then, it’s been implemented — and not implemented — and argued over for decades. Historian and state curator for the State Historical Society of Iowa joins the show to look back at the history of daylight saving time in Iowa and explain what happened the last time daylight saving time was a permanent staple in the country.


  • Melissa Febos, associate professor, University of Iowa author of Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative
  • Leo Landis, state curator, State Historical Society of Iowa
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