Hailed as “lyrical and fascinating” by Buzzfeed News, Renée Nicholson’s intentionally fractured memoir-in-essays, “Fierce and Delicate” (WVU Press, May 2021) is a book about the high-stakes world of professional ballet, and also about living with chronic illness. From pirouettes to knee replacements, Nicholson’s mastery of writing the body shines in each essay.
In an interview, Renée K. Nicholson will discuss:
How dance, writing, and teaching have each informed her creative life
Her writing process, and how these essays came to be
How she approached writing about ballet in a way that would be accessible to non-dancers, and why this is important to her
How this memoir-in-essays may align with and diverge from readers’ assumptions about both ballet and chronic illness
What narrative medicine is, and how it influences her understanding of chronic illness and writing
More about the book:
Renée Nicholson’s professional training in ballet had both moments of magnificence and moments of torment, from fittings of elaborate platter tutus to strange language barriers and unrealistic expectations of the body. In “Fierce and Delicate” she looks back on the often confused and driven self she had been shaped into and finds beauty in the small roles she performed. When, inevitably, Nicholson moved on from dancing, she discovered that she retained the lyricism and narrative of ballet even as she negotiated life with rheumatoid arthritis.
“remarkable... as breathtaking and beautiful as ballet itself” – Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire