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Perspective + Art [clear filter]
Friday, April 3

9:00am EDT

1K: Self-Translation: Writing from a Non-English Perspective
Limited Capacity seats available

Conveying a non-English world, piece of dialogue, and or a sentiment through English for the sake of a majority English readership is something writers have wrestled with in numerous ways. Choices in how we present languages besides English-- whether in dialogue, description, and more-- can vary from deliberately removing any contextual "clues," offering just enough explanation to English readers, or to suspend disbelief and suggest that all English dialogue is, in fact, being spoken in another language. 

The cultural, socio-economic, and racial implications of these various choices determine who a book is meant for, who has access to what information, and to recreate or reverse a linguistic exclusion that many non-English speakers encounter in contemporary and canonical works of fiction and non-fiction. Come for a thoughtful discussion, examples of how other authors have tackled this problem, and your own questions and ideas. This session is particularly useful for attendees who are writing in a non-English language (or who want to).

avatar for Melody Moezzi

Melody Moezzi

Melody Moezzi is an Iranian-American Muslim writer, activist, attorney, and award-winning author. A United Nations Global Expert and an Opinion Leader for the British Council’s Our Shared Future initiative, she is a visiting professor of creative nonfiction at the University of... Read More →
avatar for Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Cenzontle, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize (BOA editions 2018), winner of the 2019 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award in poetry, The Foreword Indies bronze prize, The Golden Poppy Award from N.C.B.I.A, and a finalist for... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3H: Writing While Multilingual: How to Leverage Your Languages for Strong Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

For bi- or multilingual writers, our relationship to language(s) can be complex, and there is a growing appreciation in today’s market for stories that reflect this. Colonization, immigration, belonging versus otherness, the circumstances of our growing up-- all these influence how we use and feel about language.

In this fiction-focused session, we will work to identify our own relationships with our languages and how they influence what/how we write. We'll draw on excerpts by writers such as Junot Díaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwige Danticat, and Amitav Ghosh, who use their particular flexibility with words in their writing. We will identify some practical techniques for how to use our own languages to craft the strongest, truest fiction for an audience who might not be familiar with all of them.

avatar for Anjali Duva

Anjali Duva

Anjali Mitter Duva is an Indian-American writer, dancer and educator raised in France. She is the author of Faint Promise of Rain, shortlisted for the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and a 2015 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction, and she was a finalist for 2018... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

4I: Addressing Race and Racial Identity as Writers and Readers
Limited Capacity seats available

In our race-conscious society, white people are asked, often reluctantly, to define themselves as racial beings, a process to which people of color have been socialized since birth. Racial identity is the psychological connection we have with our race; its resolution process occurs for everyone, regardless of one’s identified race.

As writers, how might our characters, arguments, and storylines reflect any conscious and unconscious racial bias that we hold? As readers, how might our racial identities affect how we resonate with, review and recommend books, short stories, essays and poetry?

In this engaged conversation, two writer-psychologists explore with participants how to challenge and reframe dominant narratives about race, how to sharpen our perceptions of the impact of our racial identity on our writing, and how to read with greater racial consciousness. Using our collective wisdom, we will work toward a more enlightened understanding of race and racial identity in writing.

avatar for Molly Howes

Molly Howes

Molly Howes is a graduate of both the first Memoir Incubator and the only Nonfiction Career Lab, two of GrubStreet’s yearlong, intensive programs.Her work has appeared in the New York Times “Modern Love” column, Boston Globe Magazine, WBUR “Cognoscenti” column, NPR Morning... Read More →
avatar for Deborah Plummer

Deborah Plummer

Chief Diversity Officer, UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care
Deborah L. Plummer, PhD is a psychologist, university professor, diversity thought leader, author, and speaker on topics central to racial equality, inclusion, and mutual respect.Her groundbreaking and timely book, Some of My Friends Are…The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Benefits... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor
Saturday, April 4

9:00am EDT

5A: Different Worlds and Different Bodies: the Disabled Figure in Literature
Limited Capacity seats available

From Tiny Tim to the Seven Dwarves, disability in literature all too often falls into ableist tropes that continue to perpetuate disabled exclusion. 

How, then, do we look to expand disability representation in literature? How can we work toward representing the vast richness of disability experience on the page in thoughtful, inclusive ways?

Join writer Amanda Leduc on a part-history adventure, part-brainstorming discussion, all-round fabulous discussion class on how to increase disability representation in your work in ways that centre and respect the disabled experience.

avatar for Amanda Leduc

Amanda Leduc

Amanda Leduc is a disabled author with cerebral palsy whose essays and stories have appeared in publications across Canada and the US. She holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews, UK. Her first novel, The Miracles of Ordinary Men, was published... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

6E: To Whom Are You Telling Your Tale? Race & the Question of Readership
Limited Capacity seats available

In some writing workshops, writers are told not to worry about their audience, but to focus on their craft. And yet, in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness & the Literary Imagination, Toni Morrison exposes issues of race that underlie the question, To whom are you telling your tale? “For reasons that should not need explanation here, until very recently, and regardless of the race of the author, the readers of virtually all of American fiction have been positioned as white,” Morrison writes. The implication here is that white writers don’t think about readers of color; in contrast, writers of color are aware their work will be read and judged by white readers even if some, as Morrison did, feel they are writing primarily to their community.

How are writers to navigate the question of readership in America’s rapidly shifting demographics? Can or should one write for a specific audience? How are these questions related to four fundamental questions of any narration, either in fiction or nonfiction: Who is the narrator? To whom is the narrator telling their tale? When is the narrator telling their tale? Why is the narrator telling their tale? This session explores aesthetic choices that often go unexamined to help writers discover how considering their intended reader can be liberating, rather than restrictive. For writers of color, this may entail a deeper freedom to own their own voice and material; for white writers, this may mean expanding their vision and material.

avatar for David Mura

David Mura

David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, fiction writer, critic, and playwright. His newest book is A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity & Narrative Craft in Writing.A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level

1:45pm EDT

7E: Reclaiming Our Narrative: How Black Women Writers Showcase Versatility Through Storytelling
Limited Capacity seats available

It's no secret that in 2019, Black women are still plagued with stereotypes that rob us of our humanity. These tropes have permeated every crevice of popular culture and are so routine, they have become normalized. We are consistently portrayed or viewed as sexually insatiable, ardently pliant or irrationally angry. With Black women noticeably invisible in white American literature and the publishing world, how can we employ storytelling to fully capture our narrative?

In this session, led by writers Candace McDuffie and Ashley-Rose Salomon, we will discuss how steeping our works in our identity not only peels back the layers of our marginalization but allows us to have a seat at the table for a meal that was never meant for us. We will discuss how embracing our identities in the publishing world has led to success, and how maintaining self-care is vital for a healthy and abundant career as a writer.

avatar for Candace McDuffie

Candace McDuffie

Nonfiction Writer
Candace McDuffie is a dedicated journalist and teacher who holds a Master's Degree in Education specializing in Critical and Creative Thinking from the University at Massachusetts Boston. She is a monthly contributor for the Under 30 Section at Forbes. Her work has also been featured... Read More →
avatar for Ashley-Rose Salomon

Ashley-Rose Salomon

Ashley-Rose is an award winning Haitian-American educator, organizer, actress and award-winning poet from Boston, MA. She was honored by Mayor Marty Walsh with the OneIn3 Impact Award for being one of the most influential people under age 35 in Boston and in 2016 she was awarded Boston’s... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

7F: Approaching Race as a White Writer
Limited Capacity filling up

How can white writers address their own racial subjectivity, and that of others, in ways that are artistically meaningful and challenging? We'll talk about questions of appropriation and representation, approaches to research and inquiry, and ways to introduce anti-racist conversations in literary spaces.

avatar for Jess Row

Jess Row

Jess Row is the author of the novel Your Face in Mine, two collections of short stories, The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost, and a book of essays, White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Tin House... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

8J: Agents and Editors of Color Roundtable
Limited Capacity seats available

Join a lively and vital discussion among prominent authors, literary agents, and editors of color as we share experiences of issues we've uniquely encountered in our projects and our careers. Get advice on what you might expect in your own career and how to navigate it. The talk will build on ideas discussed in previous Writers of Color Roundtable, but all attendees are welcome!

avatar for Aemilia Phillips

Aemilia Phillips

Literary Agent, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency
Aemilia Phillips joined Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency after completing the Columbia University Publishing Course. She graduated from Harvard University with high honors, and is putting her English degree to good use in the world of publishing, working with a range of fiction and... Read More →
avatar for Kiana Nguyen

Kiana Nguyen

Literary Agent, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Kiana Nguyen joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2016, where she assisted several agents, and is now building her own client list. She is seeking YA fiction across genres, particularly those with POC and queer voices. She is also interested in Adult romance and domestic suspense... Read More →
avatar for Amber Oliver

Amber Oliver

Editor, Harper & Harper Perennial
Amber Oliver is an assistant editor at Harper and Harper Perennial. Amber has published Lambda Literary Award winner, Claire O’Dell’s A Study in Honor and The Hound of Justice and has forthcoming titles such as Robin Page’s Small Silent Things, Lee Matalone’s Home Making... Read More →
avatar for Emi Ikkanda

Emi Ikkanda

Editor, Seal Press
Emi Ikkanda is the Senior Editor at Seal Press, an imprint at Basic Books / Hachette. She previously worked at Spiegel & Grau / Penguin Random House and at Henry Holt & Company / Macmillan. She acquires books on current and global affairs, social justice, race, feminism, history... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer De Leon

Jennifer De Leon

Born in the Boston area to Guatemalan parents, Jennifer De Leon is the author of the novel Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (Simon & Schuster/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2020) and the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). She graduated... Read More →
avatar for Nina McConigley

Nina McConigley

Nina McConigley is the author of the story collection Cowboys and East Indians, which won the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and a High Plains Book Award. She was born in Singapore and grew up in Wyoming. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and an MA from the University of Wyoming... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level
Sunday, April 5

10:15am EDT

9G: Writing Transgender Characters
Limited Capacity seats available

With demand for transgender and non-binary narratives on the rise, more cisgender (non-trans/NB) people are adding trans and NB characters to their stories. But what can you do to make sure you’re providing accurate representation? In this session, we will explore the "Three E’s" of wanting to write a trans/NB character (empathy, education, and empowerment), the best craft approaches for each, and their potential pitfalls. We’ll also go over inappropriate reasons to write a trans/NB narrative, general do’s and don’ts, and an overview of the experiences most often used incorrectly in stories.

avatar for Milo Todd

Milo Todd

Fiction Writer
Milo Todd writes trans historical fiction based on people and events that have often been distorted, erased, or cis-washed. He’s presented at Muse and the Marketplace and the Boston Book Festival, is an instructor at GrubStreet, and an alum of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator Program... Read More →

Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Charles River Room - 4th Floor