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Anna Gazmarian and Maddie Norris presents DEVOUT: A MEMOIR OF DOUBT and THE WET WOUNDat Flyleaf Books

April 2 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Anna Gazmarian and Maddie Norris

In her revelatory memoir Devout: A Memoir of Doubt, Anna Gazmarian seeks to bridge the gap between science and spirituality by telling the story of how her Evangelical upbringing in North Carolina provided an inadequate framework to understand the mental health diagnosis she received, and the work she had to do to find proper medical treatment while also maintaining her faith. When Anna is diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, she is faced with a conundrum: while the diagnosis provides clarity about her manic and depressive episodes, growing up in an Evangelical community means that her diagnosis is regarded as an affliction of the spirit rather than a medical condition. Over ten years, we follow Anna on her journey to re-frame her understanding of mental health to expand the limits of what her religious faith can offer

The Wet Wound is Maddie Norris’s debut essay collection, inspired by the grief she experienced in the wake of her father’s death from cancer when she was seventeen. Norris uses a medical lens to examine the anguish that followed and likens mourning to wound care. These linked essays examine grief from different angles, resulting in a multilayered exploration of why, contrary to popular belief, keeping wounds open is the best way to care for them physically and emotionally. Norris approaches the narrative through various topics–the investigation of body preservation, the history of skin grafts, and a deep dive into physical pain–all of them related to how she carries this fundamental loss. By centering on the importance of mourning (a long-term practice frowned upon in Western culture), the essays unsettle conventional wisdom as the text pushes against the stereotypical notion of “letting go” and “moving on.” The Wet Wound: An Elegy in Essays thus unpacks the question: What happens when, instead of following steps prescribed by those outside loss, we let ourselves dwell in grief?

Anna Gazmarian holds an MFA in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her essays have been published in The Rumpus, Longreads, The Sun, and The Guardian. Anna works for The Sun Magazine and lives with her family in Durham, North Carolina.

Maddie Norris is the Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work appears in Guernica, Fourth Genre, Territory, and Essay Daily, among other publications. Her essays have won the Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction from Ninth Letter and have been named as notable in Best American Essays. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.


April 2
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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Flyleaf Books
752 MLK Jr Blvd
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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