Neither the Madonna nor Mommy Dearest: Why and How to Write Real Mothers

Rooms 345-346, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Saturday, March 11, 2023
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Writing well about mothers means balancing the drive for truth with the influence of misogyny. Mothers are uniquely attacked in psychology and pop culture, but also falsely venerated, a binary that papers over complexity. These writers share how they’ve resisted demonizing imperfect mothers, depicting them instead with context and curiosity. They offer techniques for writing truthfully and vividly about the mother wound without leaning on the escalating "mother blame" in American society.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Outline_PDF_1.18_.22_Neither_The_Madonna_nor_Mommy_Dearest_.pdf



Ronit Plank's first book is the memoir When She Comes Back, her second, the forthcoming story collection Home Is A Made-Up Place. She has work in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, the New York Times, The Iowa Review, the Washington Post, Litro, and others. She's a creative nonfiction editor at The Citron Review and host of Let's Talk Memoir. @ronitplank.

Jeannine Ouellette's memoir in fragments, The Part That Burns, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was a finalist for the Next Gen Indie Book Award. She teaches writing at the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, Catapult, and Elephant Rock. She is working on a novel.

Michelle Yang is an advocate whose work focuses on the intersection of immigrant identity, feminism, and mental health. A developmental editor at InStyle, her freelance bylines include CNN, NBC, Shondaland, and more. Her memoir, Phoenix Girl: How a Fat Asian with Bipolar Found Love, is forthcoming.

Hyeseung Song is a Korean-American writer and painter based in New York City. Her debut memoir Worth, about her search to form an identity outside the model minority myth, is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster. She was a 2021–2022 Mae Fellow.

Gina Frangello


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center