R235. CANCELLED: Do Words Heal? Writers on the Power and Difficulty of Writing Pain & Trauma

Status: Not Accepted

Room 217A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Thursday, March 5, 2020
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


Trauma and pain can inhibit—even paralyze—creativity. Yet for some writers, trauma serves as the nexus of their work. Participants will share brief excerpts of their work and then discuss the dangers and triumphs of reckoning with personal experience. Does surviving and choosing to write about traumatic events serve to transcend or mire us? Is it worth facing your biggest pain and trauma for the sake of creating? What is left in the aftermath? Who, if anyone, is transformed?



Cleyvis Natera is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. She has a bachelor of arts from Skidmore College and an MFA in fiction from New York University. She recently completed her first novel, Neruda on the Park.

Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years won a Whiting Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel prize, and the Hurston Wright Legacy award.

Susan Kim Campbell’s fiction and nonfiction are published in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Meridian, the Mississippi Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and the anthology Us against Alzheimer’s: Stories of Family, Love and Faith. She holds a BA from Brown University.

Alison C. Rollins is a National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem, and Callaloo Fellow as well as a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Her debut poetry collection is Library of Small Catastrophes.

Vanessa Martir


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center