S271. Safety, Reporting, and Confidentiality in Memoir Classes

Meeting Room 1, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Student memoirists experiment not just with formal approach, but also with disclosure itself—hence the need for confidentiality in nonfiction workshops. Yet, both legal and professional ethics require memoir teachers to report situations where harm may come to students. This panel examines workshop confidentiality from legal, pedagogical, and mental health perspectives and offers practical advice about creating safe and nurturing classrooms.



Glen Retief's The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood won a Lambda Literary Award. He teaches creative nonfiction at Susquehanna University, where he also directs the undergraduate creative writing major.

Barbara Johnson, Title IX Coordinator, has had to think about how faculty at the university fulfill their role as "responsible employees" to report sexual assault as well as seek exemptions from that role in a memoir class where recognizing a writer's relived trauma may preempt their craft.

Nicole Lacy is a licensed mental health counselor and MFA candidate at Carlow University in Pittsburgh. Her creative nonfiction has been published in Tin House's Open Bar, The Los Angeles Review, and Word Riot, and will be anthologized in the forthcoming Waves: A Confluence of Women's Voices.

Annalise Mabe is a writer from Tampa, Florida. Her work has appeared in The Tampa Bay Times, Brevity, The Rumpus, and more.

Scott Brennan


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center