Cynthia Blakeley, PhD

Born and raised in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, I am a first-generation college graduate who now lives in Atlanta, GA, where I write creative nonfiction, edit scholarly works, and teach interdisciplinary courses at Emory University on memory and memoir, dream theories, literature, and research methods. My interest in storytelling has led to interviews in the Wall Street Journal and on public radio. 

As a long-time freelance editor I have assisted many others on the road to publication, editing books and articles in history, memoir, African American studies, Native American studies, art history, psychology, cultural studies, American studies, sociology, and German studies. Earlier in my career I worked as a freelance journalist for business publications, a well-remunerated field that taught me much but wasn’t, ultimately, where my heart lay. 

In recent years I have turned my hand to creative nonfiction pieces, with the help of workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writersthe Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, Hollis Gillespie’s Shocking Real Life Writing Academy, and the Atlanta Writers Club. I have recently completed a hybrid memoir that melds observations on the nature of autobiographical memory with stories—of ghosts, nature, violence, and redemption—from my childhood on Cape Cod. The Innermost House is due to appear in Fall 2024, published by University of Massachusetts Press.

I graduated with a BA in International Relations from Trinity College in Hartford, CT; an MA from New College, Berkeley in Cross-Cultural Studies; and a PhD from Emory University in Interdisciplinary Studies (feminist and psychoanalytic theories). My dissertation interweaves theories of dreams from multiple perspectives: Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, cognitive, neurophysiological, feminist, religious, and poststructuralist. I bring these theories into conversation with an in-depth dream oral history I conducted for over two years. 

In my teens and twenties I lived for three years in Europe: Finland, Austria, Switzerland, and France, where I was an eager Fulbright teaching assistant in Bordeaux and a rather inept salesgirl selling women’s luxury accessories at Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. But it was fun! 

Photo by Kai Smith