S280. Women Writing the Forbidden Narrative: From Inception to After Life

A106, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Many writers are drawn to material in forbidden territory, from stories of abuse to mental illness. When writing about taboo, how do we find the universal story in our specific experience? What artistic choices do we make in terms of genre, voice, structure, character? How do we prepare for reactions? A diverse, multigenerational panel of women discuss why and how they wrote their taboo stories, how they prepared for public reception, and whether writing the taboo affected their future projects.



Leigh Stein is the author of a memoir (Land of Enchantment), a novel (The Fallback Plan), and a full-length poetry collection (Dispatch from the Future). She teaches writing at the 92Y, Catapult, and Brooklyn Poets, and cofounded BinderCon.

Eileen Cronin’s memoir Mermaid was translated into three languages and was one of O Magazine’s Best Memoirs of the Year. Her screenplay was a finalist in SF Indie Fest. She has won fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center and the APA, and she won the Washington Writing Prize in fiction.

Sue William Silverman’s books are The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon JewLove Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual AddictionBecause I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You; Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A MemoirHollywood Notebook, and the dreamoir Bruja. Publishing credits include The New York TimesJoylandStoryQuarterly, and a year-long series in McSweeney's Internet Tendency. She is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles.

Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of the novel The Border of Paradise, and was chosen by Granta as a Best of Young American Novelists in 2017. She received the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize in 2016, and has written essays for publications including the Believer, the New Inquiry, and Salon.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center