2022 Moravian Writers’ Conference This Week


Image by Anna Litofsky

Writing, Health, and Justice is the theme for this year’s Moravian Writing Conference held on Mar. 18-19. The conference will feature free workshops, a roundtable Q&A, a keynote talk, and a masterclass offered by writers, activists, medical practitioners, and narrative medicine specialists – with each event following Moravian’s InFocus theme of healthcare.

Topics like coping through workplace trauma through writing, narrative medicine, poetry, and more are intended to be rejuvenating points of discussion, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, there are eight separate events to register for.

The first event is on Mar. 18 at 2:00 p.m. with Hasshan Batts, a prison survivor and leading expert on trauma-informed care. His in-person workshop “StoryHealing: We Are Our Medicine” will “focus on decolonizing wellness through radical welcome” as it explores centering our strengths and stories to support those impacted by structural violence. It will be held in the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences (SMC) rooms 129/131.

Following this is a 4:00 p.m. virtual Roundtable and Q&A with Batts and other health experts Carly Bergey, Nicole Defenbaugh, Nina Solis, and BJ Ward, many of whom are hosting their own workshops later in the conference. Here, attendees can freely ask them questions.

The conference keynote address will be held virtually by acclaimed writer Porochista Khakpour at 7:00 p.m. on Mar. 18. It is titled: “My Journey in Disability and Chronic Illness on the Margins of Identity in the Pre- and Post- Covid World.” Khakpour is an author of four acclaimed books, including the powerful memoir “Sick” and most recently “Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity.” Her keynote will explore “what it means for all of us in this moment of crisis to navigate our complex identities in a very unwell present and future, when we still have yet to reckon with the wounds of the past.”

Khakpour will also have a virtual masterclass on March 19 at 9:30 a.m., where attendees will dive deeply into creative nonfiction to explore both the business and emotional sides of the art.

Nina Solis, a hematology/oncology/COVID-19 nurse and emerging writer, will hold a virtual workshop called “Coping with Workplace Trauma as a Healthcare Provider” on March 19 at 9:30 a.m.. It will discuss the topic of trauma through writing in a non-judgmental space.

Carly Bergey, a speech language pathologist with expertise in voice care, upper airway disorders, and swallowing, will have an in-person workshop in SMC room 113 titled “Narrative Medicine: A Primer” on March 19 at 2:00 p.m.. This will introduce the Narrative Medicine Framework as a means of processing displacement and disruption from illness.

Also on March 19 at 2:00 p.m. will be BJ Ward’s in-person workshop “Circle of Associates: A Poetry Workshop.” Ward is the author of four poetry books, most recently “Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems 1990-2013” (North Atlantic Books), which received the Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. In his workshop, held in SMC room 117,  attendees will explore the writing technique of starting with an object and writing outward as opposed to inward.

Also part of the Q&A panel is Nicole Defenbaugh, an associate professor at Weber State University. Prior to reentering academia, she was a Clinical Communication Specialist for over eight years at St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Finally, Mar. 19 will also feature “Writing, Health, and the Outdoors,” a bring-your-own-lunch and easy walk near the Moravian University campus led by conference co-directors Kate Brandes and Joyce Hinnefeld.

Those interested in attending any of these events can register here. Many spaces are still available for the Roundtable Q&A and Porochista Khakpour’s keynote. Though many of the workshops are full, several spots are also still available, and people can email [email protected] to be added to the waitlist.


Source: https://www.moravian.edu/writersconference