The Caroline Werner Gannett Project 2007-08
Ryan Knighton

Ryan Knighton

Canadian-born journalist, memoirist, professor and screenwriter; author of Cockeyed; C’mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark


“It's, Like, For Real: A Life in Autopathography”

When: Monday, October 10, 2011 at 8:00PM
Where: Webb Auditorium (James E. Booth Memorial Building 7A)

Talk Description:
From speaker Ryan Knighton: When I turned thirty, I decided to do something very silly and arrogant. I decided to write a memoir. Eight years later, I'm working on my third. Heaps of stuff happens, but more happens, I've discovered, when you write about it. Thing is, I'm also blind. I haven't always been this way, and I'm not even sure when it happened, but the fact remains that I don't see so hot. It makes writing hard, it makes remembering imperative, it makes technology my beloved curse, and it makes the world -- and everything my former, sighted self assumed - perversely funny. Tragedy and comedy are often born in the same spot, and it's in that one spot, in some ways, that I've been lost for nearly a decade. The historian Joseph Tussman once said that a story is a measure of our understanding. We measure what we know in beginnings, middles and ends. In this talk, I'm going to tell a few stories, and hopefully tell you what I think I know, or at least so far, about memory, flesh, laughter and sentences, and how they help us navigate the world.
Ryan Knighton is a Canadian-born journalist, author, professor and screenwriter. On his 18th birthday he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a congenital syndrome that slowly blinded him over ten years. His memoir about the experience, Cockeyed, was published around the world to rave reviews, and was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal, Canada's national award for the funniest book of the year. His next book, C'mon Papa, was about the perils and pleasures of fatherhood, and was met with equally widespread acclaim. In 2008, Knighton was awarded a position at the Sundance Institute's Screenwriters Lab, where he first developed his life's story toward a film. Jodie Foster is currently attached to direct Knighton's screenplay, which has already won awards from the Tribeca Film Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Knighton's journalism has appeared in The New York Times, Outside, Salon, Esquire, Men's Health and The Believer, and has earned him a nomination for a national magazine award. He is currently working on two new screenplays, and is penning a travel book called Nothing To See Here: Around the World in Four Senses. He teaches rhetoric and creative writing at Capilano University, collects tattoos he's never seen, and lives in East Vancouver with his wife, daughter and pug.

Biographic Photo credit: Mary Ellen Mark, 2010

Links: Cockeyed- A Memoir  C’mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark