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Writing Workshops

We All Have Family Stories to Tell with Eraldo Souza dos Santos


2 Sessions

In stock

Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT July 6 to July 7, 2024

Online via Zoom

From novels and memoirs to poems and essays, family life is one of the main motives of literary writing. But it is perhaps a truism to say that writing about family is not easy. As Leo Tolstoy famously wrote at the beginning of Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” That is what I have learned since I decided to start writing about how my mother was sold into slavery by her adoptive sister five and a half decades ago.

We will explore in this workshop how writers from different historical periods and traditions wrote about (their) families – and how we can do so today. Participants will have the opportunity to workshop their pieces and receive feedback in the second session.

Course Outline
  • Session I: Voice and Style in Family Writing
  • Session II: Five Techniques / Workshop

Led by

  • PicNewEraldo - Eraldo Souza dos Santos

    Eraldo Souza dos Santos

    Eraldo Souza dos Santos

    A 2022 LARB Publishing Fellow, Eraldo Souza dos Santos is a Brazilian writer currently based between Paris and São Paulo. He will be joining Cornell University as a Klarman Fellow this summer and the University of California, Irvine as an Assistant Professor within the Poetic Justice Cluster in Fall 2025. His first book, to be published in 2025, is an autobiography of his illiterate mother and a meditation on the lived experience of Blackness and enslavement in modern Brazil. At the age of seven, his mother was sold into slavery by her white foster sister. It was 1968—eighty years after the abolition of slavery in Brazil and four years into the anti-communist coup d’état, during the month in which the military overruled the Constitution by decree. By weaving in extensive archival research and interviews, the novel narrates their journey to Minas Gerais—where she was born—and Bahia—the Blackest state in Brazil, where she was enslaved for many years—to investigate why the family that enslaved her has never been brought to justice. It also narrates his grandmother’s journey to search for her missing daughter. In March 2023, he offered a masterclass based on his novel at the prestigious UEA Creative Writing Course. You can keep up with Eraldo on Twitter at @esdsantos.