On Writing Trauma Event Poster

On Writing Trauma: Genre-Bending with Nikki Grimes, Grace Talusan, Sonja Solter, and Alysia Lin Ying Sawchyn

Friday, October 23rd 3 p.m. via Crowdcast

About the Event

With a steady rise of mental health awareness today, how do authors go about expressing pain and suffering through their writing? Moderator Jeannie Vanasco, author of the memoir Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was A Girl, leads a conversation with four authors about how they approached writing about trauma in their genre-bending books: Nikki Grimes and her YA memoir in verse, Ordinary Hazards; Grace Talusan and her memoir The Body Papers, which uses medical records, government documents and more; Sonja Solter with her middle grade novel-in-verse, When You Know What I Know; and Alysia Lin Ying Sawchyn with A Fish Growing Lungs, a collection of linked essays that reflect on her misdiagnosis and her ultimate recovery.

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Nikki Grimes

About Nikki Grimes

New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to the field of adolescent literature, the 2017 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey’s Choice, ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ About Bessie, Dark SonsWords with Wings, and The Road to Paris. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.

Grace Talusan

About Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan is the author of The Body Papers (2019), a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, a Must-Read for the Massachusetts Book Awards, and the winner of the 2017 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Born in the Philippines and raised in New England, Talusan graduated from Tufts University and the MFA Program in Writing at UC Irvine. She is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University.



Sonja Solter

About Sonja Solter

Sonja K Solter spent her childhood summers in her mother’s homeland of Finland and traveled the world extensively with her family. She read so voraciously as a child that she once brought over 70 books on a trip. (Her mother is still trying to figure out how that slipped by her.) Sonja graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. Her master’s critical thesis was on writing trauma in middle grade and young adult realistic fiction. She is currently a creative writing mentor to youth with the Society of Young Inklings and enjoys writing poetry and prose for children of all ages. She has also been a Music Together® director and teacher, where she especially enjoyed the collaborative improvisation aspect of the program. Sonja lives with her husband and two children in Louisville, Colorado, and enjoys nature, travel, and yoga. When You Know What I Know is her debut novel.

Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn

About Alysia Lin Yinng Sawchyn

Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn is a features editor for The Rumpus and currently lives in Northern Virginia. Her writing has appeared in Fourth Genre, Brevity, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. A Fish Growing Lungs is her first book.

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