In her acclaimed novels and memoir, author Lidia Yuknavitch navigates the intersection of tragedy and violence to draw new roadmaps for self­-discovery.

Why you should listen

Writer Lidia Yuknavitch discovered her calling after an interrupted journey as a would­-be Olympic swimmer. Her prose erases the boundaries between memoir and fiction, explodes gender binaries and focuses on the visceral minutiae of the body.

She was inspired by Ken Kesey (with whom she collaborated on a collective novel project at Oregon University); her latest book, The Small Backs of Children, stands as a fictional counterpoint to her memoir The Chronology of Water, which has garnered her a cult following for its honesty and intensity.

What others say

“Yuknavitch writes about art, violence, sex, ferocity, willpower and womanhood with explosive force, in a language that evokes modern mythology.” —, July 16, 2015

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The misfit’s journey: Writer Lidia Yuknavitch tells her story at TED2016

February 18, 2016

Writer Lidia Yuknavitch has a favorite word: “misfit.” “I love this word because it’s such a literal word,” she says. “It means a person who missed fitting in. A person who fits badly.” Yuknavitch identifies strongly with this. She’s the author of the memoir The Chronology of Water, a book about her life as competitive swimmer. But […]

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