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Writing Family Stories and Family Histories with Eraldo Souza dos Santos

6 October 2023 - 8 October 2023

From novels and memoirs to poems and essays, family life is one of the main motives of literary writing. But it is perhaps a truism to say that writing about family is not easy. As Leo Tolstoy famously wrote at the beginning of Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” That is what I have learned since I decided to start writing about how my mother was sold into slavery by her adoptive sister five and a half decades ago.

For three days, we will explore in this workshop how writers from different historical periods and traditions wrote about (their) families – and how we can do so today. We will read, study, and find inspiration in writings by James Baldwin, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Annie Ernaux, Didier Eribon, Toni Morrison, and Ocean Vuong. Participants will have the opportunity to workshop their pieces and receive feedback in the second and third sessions of the workshop.

Course outline

  • Day 1: Voice and Style in Family Writing
  • Day 2: Five Techniques / Writing with a Family Member
  • Day 3: Writing about Traumatic Experiences

Click here for all the information.


Online via Zoom


The Center for Fiction
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