Who Ate Grandma? Using Family Mythology to Write Fiction


with Lindsay Wong

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“When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.”― Czeslaw Milosz

“Because sometimes that is the only way to remember what is in your bones. You must peel off your skin, and that of your mother, and her mother. Until there is nothing. No scar, no skin, no flesh.
― Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

Every family has a few skeletons in their backyard. Perhaps you’ve heard secrets blurted at dinner, or you still remember something you were told is better off forgotten. You might’ve grown up wondering: which family members are lying to me on purpose?

In this workshop, through mini-lectures and writing exercises, you will learn to start writing when you’re stuck and draw on personal memory and family lore to craft compelling fiction. We will discuss how one’s cultural mythology and understanding of kinship can shape a narrative, and examine the risks of writing about intergenerational trauma, secret-keeping, and truth-telling. After the workshop, perhaps some of you will be brave enough to unbury your family skeletons.

Participants will be invited to share their work out loud with the group. All levels of writers are welcome.

This event is hosted at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

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