We Love Memoirs Day is celebrated on August 31 every year. A ‘memoir’ is a non-fiction account based on the author’s memories and experiences. They focus on how these events and experiences affected the author. This ranges from emotional responses to their personal opinions on the affairs going on at the time. For millennia, notable historical figures penned memoirs documenting what they considered some of the most formative years of their lives. From war journals and politics to business and travel, you can write a memoir about anything. Memoirs offer us a rare peek into a person’s life and beliefs.
History of We Love Memoirs Day
For as long as humans have written, there have been memoirs. In the past documenting one’s life in scrolls, journals, and letters was a part of everyday life. Scholars, politicians, and military officers were the most common memoirists, as well as a few royals and their associates. Some memoirs existed in the form of oral literature — passed down from generation to generation as part of a family’s heritage. One example is Libanius — a teacher who lived between 314 and 394 A.D. Libanius chose to have his memoir done in the literary orations that were popular at the time. During the 13th and 14th centuries, some European diplomats like Philippe de Commines and historians like Geoffrey of Villehardouin wrote about great political upheavals at the time, narrated from their perspective.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, also known as the Age of Enlightenment, many intellectuals began writing memoirs. They wrote these accounts as a way of recording their exploits during this time, such as in political movements and intellectual schools of thought. Most of these memoirs were written by esteemed members of certain professions such as law and politics. It wasn’t until the 20th century that ordinary men and women began publishing memoirs for others to read.
After the First and Second World Wars, veterans who survived these conflicts began writing about the horrors they experienced on the frontlines. These accounts showed people the harsh reality of war and how brutal it was when countries engaged in sustained conflict against each other. Memoirs like “Her Privates We” and “Storm of Steel” stripped away the outdated notions of war as a noble pursuit. Today, memoirs are still written by career politicians, businesspeople, and military officers, however, a large chunk of the market is dominated by celebrities too.
We Love Memoirs Day timeline
Caesar writes the “Commentari de Bello Gallico” or “Commentaries on the Gallic War” — a firsthand account of his experiences fighting the Celtic and Germanic people in Gaul.
Written by a lady-in-waiting, this memoir documents travels and pilgrimages by the author in feudal Japan.
French diplomat and soldier Louis de Rouvroy, the Duke of Saint Simon, writes about his time in the court of Versailles.
Elie Wiesel publishes “Night,” a memoir about his life before and during his incarceration at Nazi concentration camps, including the notorious ‘Auschwitz’ and ‘Buchenwald’.
We Love Memoirs Day FAQs
What makes a good memoir?
A good memoir has an unfolding plot combined with a novelistic narrative.
How do you write a short memoir?
All you have to do is settle on a theme, be honest in your writing, and use interesting, relevant anecdotes to spice up the story.
Is a memoir in the first person?
Yes, most of the time it’s in the first person, as the author is the main character in the story.
We Love Memoirs Day Activities
Write a memoir
Why not tell your life story? You may find the process to be quite insightful and cathartic.
Read a memoir
Is there a public figure or person you admire? Read their memoir. You’ll get to know them better, and learn something new along the way.
Reflect on your life
If you’re not big on reading or writing, take the time to reflect on your life. A memoir is, after all, a personal account of the most memorable moments in your life. Ponder the highs and lows that have shaped you into the person you are today.
5 Interesting Facts About Memoirs
Memoirs are not strictly factual
Unlike autobiographies, memoirs focus on how certain events in your life affected your emotional state and development, rather than chronological accounts of your life story.
Memoirs can help you heal past trauma
Writing about the most profound events in your life can help you process negative emotions and experiences, helping you heal and become a healthier person.
Writing a memoir sparks your creativity
Because everyone has unique life experiences, they write about them in unique ways, tapping into their creative side to tell their story.
Memoirs can help you grow
Sometimes looking to the past helps you through the future, and reading or writing about our past experiences can help us work through similar obstacles we face today.
Memoirs make you immortal
People in the future will read about your life experiences and get a glimpse into what it must have been like to be you, meaning you will live on forever in the hearts and minds of others.
Why We Love We Love Memoirs Day
We all have a story to tell
Everyone has a life story. On We Love Memoirs Day we get to tell that story and read the life stories of many others.
It teaches us to appreciate our lives
Documenting the things we’ve been through, and reading about the experiences of others has a powerful effect on us. We gain a deeper appreciation for our place in the world and how far we’ve come.
It encourages reading culture
Fewer people read books and short stories today. However, when it comes to reading about the lives of others, that’s always guaranteed to pique some interest. We Love Memoirs Day encourages us all to read, and think, a little bit more.
We Love Memoirs Day dates