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A memoir is a nonfiction book that presents a firsthand retelling of a period in an author’s own life. It is a particularly personal form of nonfiction writing. Memoirists write about themselves, using first-person narrative voice and firsthand accounts of situations. Compared to other forms of nonfiction, such as third-person biography or history, memoirs reveal more about their authors and those authors’ life experiences.

A memoir is closely related to the nonfiction format known as autobiography, but the two forms are not identical. Most notably, an autobiography is a first-person account of its author’s entire life, whereas a memoir tends to focus on a particular era of the author’s own life or a particular facet of their existence, such as their professional career.