Emily Rapp was born in Nebraska in 1974, and grew up in Wyoming and Colorado. Born with a congenital defect, her left foot was amputated at age four, and she has worn a prosthetic limb ever since.
A former Fulbright scholar, she was educated at Harvard University, Saint Olaf College, Trinity College-Dublin, and the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow.
Emily Rapp is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award, a James A. Michener Fellowship at the University of Texas-Austin, and the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence fellowship at Bucknell University. She is currently professor of creative writing and literature at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and a faculty member in the University of California-Riverside MFA Program. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Salon, and the New York Times.
This biography was last updated on 02/27/2013.
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Q: Why did you write this book?
A: After Ronan was diagnosed, I needed to focus my energies on something other than despair. Writing this book saved me, in the sense that it gave me a constructive task to do each day other than take care of my son, the sight of whom filled me with an immense grief and panic and sadness and joy and love. I felt compelled to write it - I experienced hypergraphia, where I literally couldn't stop writing. And, finally, writing the book felt like a way of kicking back at the chaos of the universe, at this incredibly raw deal: you gave me this experience? Watch and see what I do with it.
Q: Can you describe the experience of writing and sharing Ronan's story?
A: Writing this book clarified an important distinction for me: that writing is cathartic, not therapeutic. Catharsis is from the Greek word to strip away, to burn away the unnecessary, and that's what I felt I was doing. The end goal of a cathartic artistic experience is art. The end goal of a therapeutic experience is emotional stability or regulation. I felt manic and crazed while I wrote this book, and also completely, terrifyingly free. I felt I had nothing to lose, and so I wrote the kind of book I've always ...
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