Minnesota author Shannon Gibney on her new speculative fiction memoir

Portrait and book cover
Shannon Gibney’s new book, “The Girl I am, Was and Never Will Be” is speculative memoir. It explores her life as a transracial adoptee – and what might have happened if her birth mother never gave her up.
Courtesy Penguin Random House

Minneapolis author Shannon Gibney made waves in 2015 when she published her novel, “See No Color.” The experiences of main character Alex Kirtridge — a Black girl adopted by a white family — were partially informed by Gibney’s own life as a transracial adoptee.

Gibney returns to her own story with her new memoir, “The Girl I Am, Was and Never Will Be.” But this time, she mines different timelines — that of her own life, growing up as a mixed race adoptee in Ann Arbor, Mich. — and an alternate reality where her biological mom doesn’t give her up, and Shannon Gibney grows up as Erin Powers, the name she was given at birth.

Race, identity and adoption are powerful themes in what she calls a '“speculative memoir.”

This week on Big Books and Bold Ideas, Gibney joins host Kerri Miller to talk about why she chose this genre to tell the parallel stories of her life, and how she filled the holes in her history that adoption left behind.

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