S304. “The boat I can feel so lonely in”: Writing the Unusual Childhood

F151, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


“A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it. In other words, the boat I can feel so lonely in actually holds us all,” Mary Karr writes in The Liar’s Club. Childhood is a keystone of memoir, and the story of any childhood, well-considered, is extraordinary—but on this panel, four authors of award-winning memoirs discuss the challenges and strategies of writing childhoods so unusual they just have to be true. Join us for a lively talk on writing the place we begin.



Jill Christman is the author of two memoirs, Darkroom: A Family Exposure (AWP Award Series in CNF winner) and Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood. She teaches creative nonfiction writing at Ball State University.

Joy Castro is the author of the literary thrillers Hell or High Water and Nearer Home, the memoirs The Truth Book and Island of Bones, and the short fiction collection How Winter Began. Editor of the collection Family Trouble, she teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the nonfiction books Buddha’s Dog & other MeditationsSouthside Buddhist, and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy. He teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida and is the editor of Sweet: A Literary Confection.

Danielle Trussoni is a New York Times- and internationally bestselling novelist and an award-winning memoirist. She has published four books—two novels and two memoirs—and hosts the Writerly Podcast with Walter Kirn. Her work has been translated into thirty-two languages.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center