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How to Cite a Memoir


First-hand accounts, like memoirs, can be invaluable sources when you are writing a paper, but if you do not cite the memoir properly, you won't benefit from the credibility it can lend your work. The APA and MLA style guides outline specific but clear citation guidelines for print and electronic memoirs, so that you can demonstrate your research, attribute sourced content, and convey your mastery of the topic.

APA: Print and Electronic Books

Type the author's last name followed by a comma, a space and the author's first initial. Add the publication date in parentheses and follow with a period. Type the title of the memoir in italicized sentence case and add a period after the title. Type the city of publication, a comma, a space and the two-letter state abbreviation. Add a colon, a space, and then enter the publisher's name followed by a period. If the memoir was self-published, type “Author” in place of a publisher's name.

Hemingway, E. (1964). A moveable feast (italicized). New York, NY: Scribner's.

If the memoir is an e-book, include "Retrieved from" and then the source after publisher information. If it is not freely available online or must be purchased, include "Available from" and the source, for example:

Elf-Published, S. (2013). My thoughts: Adventures in writing. Chicago, IL: Author. Available from http://amazon.com/kindleshop/lf-published/s/mythoughts/

MLA: Print and Electronic Books

Enter the author's last name followed by a comma, a space, the author's first name and a period. Type the title of the memoir in italicized title case. Add a period after the title. Type the city of publication succeeded by a colon and a space. Enter the name of publisher, a comma, a space, the publication year and a period. Note the medium of publication. The medium for paper-based books is identified by the word “Print.” The medium notation for electronic books should identify the e-reader you used to access the text followed by the word “file,” for example:

Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast (italicized). New York: Scribner's, 1964. Print.

Published, Self. My Thoughts: Adventures in Writing (italicized). Chicago: Author, 2013. Kindle file.

APA: In-Text Citations

According to the sixth edition of the APA manual, if you parenthetically cite the memoir in the primary text of your paper, you only need to include the author's last name, the publication year, "p." (meaning "page") and the relevant page numbers, for example: (Hemingway, 1964, p. 87).

If the memoir is an electronic book, only include fixed page numbers that apply to all versions of the book and separate each component of the citation with a comma, for example: (Hemingway, 1964).

MLA: In-Text Citations

According to the seventh edition of the MLA "Handbook for Writers of Research Papers," if you parenthetically cite the memoir in the primary text of your paper, you only need to include the author's last name and relevant page numbers for the sourced content, for example: (Hemingway 87).

If the memoir is an e-book, only include fixed page numbers that apply to all electronic versions of the book. If no fixed page numbers are available, but there are fixed chapters, include a comma after the author's name and then "ch." and the chapter number, for example: (Smith, ch. 5).

If the e-book does not have fixed pages or chapter numbers, only cite the author's last name, for example: (Smith).

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

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