The Fact of a Body is a ground-breaking, award-winning book which brings together two genres which have been hitting the headlines in recent years: memoir and true crime. As enthralling as true-crime classics such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and broadcast phenomena such as Making a Murderer, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s debut is a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, and proves that arriving at the truth is more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine. Join us for an evening with Alexandria, who’ll be reading from The Fact of a Body and talking to us about the challenges of working in memoir and the places the genre can lead us.
About the book
Law student Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, working on a retrial for death-row convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley, finds herself thrust into the tangled story of his childhood. As she examines the minute details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own history, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime. When Alexandria begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, and sees Ricky’s face flash on the screen as she reviews old tapes, and hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realising that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was awarded a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in creative writing for her work on The Fact of a Body. Other honours in support of this, her first book, include a Rona Jaffe Award, a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, as well as fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center and Yaddo. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in the New York Times, Oxford American, Salon and the anthology True Crime. She has a JD from Harvard, an MFA from Emerson and a BA from Columbia University. Alexandria currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches memoir writing at Grub Street as teaches graduate public policy students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.