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Writing Workshops

Writing Family Stories and Family Histories with Eraldo Souza dos Santos


3 Sessions

Out of stock

Friday—Sunday October 6 to October 8, 2023

Online via Zoom

This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Randy Winston at [email protected].

Meeting Times:
Friday 10/6, 7–9pm ET
Saturday 10/7 & Sunday 10/8, 12–2pm ET

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.

For three days, 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. We will read, study, and find inspiration in writings by James Baldwin, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Annie Ernaux, Didier Eribon, Toni Morrison, and Ocean Vuong. Participants will have the opportunity to workshop their pieces and receive feedback in the second and third sessions of the workshop.

Course Outline
  • Day 1: Voice and Style in Family Writing
  • Day 2: Five Techniques / Writing with a Family Member
  • Day 3: Writing about Traumatic Experiences

Capacity: 20


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. His first novel, to be published in 2024, 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 on a farm for three 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.