Association of Personal Historians Conference 2015

Association of Personal Historians Conference 2015

I’m making a list, checking it twice, packing my books and hard-won advice, as I prepare for the 20th anniversary Association of Personal Historians (APH) conference. On October 21 the conference convenes in Sacramento, California, and personal historians from around the world will attend. Some highlights include keynote speakers Andy Anderson, Vice President and Chief Historian of Wells Fargo Bank; award-winning filmmaker Satsuko Ina, Ph.D.; author, comedienne, and scriptwriter Chris Enss; and history professor James Walsh, Ph.D. (more…)



In 1968 I turned 20 during my second year at UCLA, where I studied English literature because I loved to write. As a naïve 20-year-old, I lived alone, read and wrote volumes because of my chosen major, and hoped that I could help change the world. The previous five years had challenged my hopes and dreams with the premature deaths of both parents and the uncertainty of who would care for me.

Review: Coming-of-age memoir proves “ordinary” people have extraordinary stories

Review: Coming-of-age memoir proves “ordinary” people have extraordinary stories

This beautiful review was posted by Sarah E. White on

Her words bring me so much joy, it is an honor to share my story, and to hear it so well received.

Read the full review on

If you have read my first memoir, What Lies Within, it would mean a great deal to me if you would take a moment and leave a review on Amazon.

“Libby Atwater handles with grace telling the story of her difficult childhood and coming of age, proving that “ordinary” people can and do have extraordinary stories.

If you are thinking about writing your life story, leaving a memento for those who have known you and a legacy for those who come after, this book is worth your attention. In particular, I found it helpful to observe how she handled chronology as an organizing principle (not so strictly as to detract from powerful stories) and the difficult question of what to include (since, as the saying goes, “just because it happened to you doesn’t make it interesting.”)

Libby’s journey from adopted infant to orphan to newlywed, as America transitioned from the conformist 1950s into the radicalism of the late 1960s, reflects our shared social history and illuminates its often cruel effect on many lives.

Guest Post on Katherine Dell’s website

Guest Post on Katherine Dell’s website

I recently had the honor of authoring a guest post for the beautiful website of Katherine Dell, a talented author and very kind woman.

Katherine is “a writer, a storyteller, and a dreamer of big things,” I knew soon after we met on Twitter that there was a natural kinship between us.

Fostering a community of readers and writers, Katherine features guest writers on her blog regularly and for my post I chose to write about writing my story.

From the website of Kathering Dell, here is an excerpt of “Telling My Story: One Tale at a Time – Guest Blog By Libby Atwater.”

Read the full post on Katherine’s websiteCLICK HERE

“I was stunned by the e-mail I received from a Canadian editor in December 2003:

“From a technical writing point of view the manuscript was not bad at all. You are a very good technical writer… Perhaps technical writing is your niche.”

The message referred to the book I had just written as a ghostwriter. After completing this challenging project, I was so upset I considering giving up my craft of the past fourteen years—helping others tell their life stories.

Then a post from a member of my professional organization piqued my interest. “Would anyone be interested in joining a memoir-writing group? If so, please contact me.”

Joining the group and writing my own story would give me the chance to prove I could write. I signed up immediately in hopes that telling the story of my youth would lift my spirits and also help others who’ve experienced great loss. I had no particular audience in mind. At the time I never dreamed that it would take nearly ten years and many rewrites to tell the story that I’d wanted to share for over forty years.”


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