Writing the Mother Wound, A Reading at AWP 2020 in San Antonio

Writing the Mother Wound, A Reading Final

The Writing the Mother Wound Reading is coming to AWP on Saturday, March 7th, 9am – 10:15am, in Room 206A of the Henry B. González Convention Center, on the Meeting Room Level


We live in a culture that insists that we sacrifice ourselves at the altar of the mother, and are shamed when we refuse. How do we push back on the imposed silences, and what can we do to make work around the mother wound inclusive and intersectional? Five multi-genre writers of color will address the complex realities of mother-daughter relationships, and interrogate how legacies of slavery, racism, colonization and immigration have shaped those relationships.


This reading is a follow up to the extremely successful Writing the Mother Wound Panel at AWP19. Current research on the mother wound is very white and not intersectional.The afterlives of slavery and colonialism mean mothering can be especially fraught for those whose bodies bear those legacies. This is why I decided to focus on the stories of women of color for this reading. I chose women whose work confronts the mother wound in various genres. It’s time our stories are told.


Leslie Contreras Schwartz is the Houston Poet Laureate and author of Who Speaks for Us Here (Skull + Wind Press, March 2020.)

Nana-Ama Danquah is author of Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression, and editor of four anthologies including Accra Noir, forthcoming from Akashic Books. 

H’Rina DeTroy was a 2019 Emerging Writer Fellow for Aspen Word. Her essay, The Vengeance of Elephants, won the 2017 Curt Johnson Prose Award in Creative Nonfiction. She lives in Brooklyn.

Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico. The author of the memoir Ordinary Girls has been published in The New York Times Style MagazineThe Guardian, Longreads, Condé Nast Traveler, and included in The Best American Essays 2016.

Vanessa Mártir is the founder of the Writing Our Lives Workshop and the Writing the Mother Wound Movement. She is a five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow. Her work has been widely published, including in The NY Times, The Washington Post, Longreads, The Rumpus, Bitch Magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, and the NYTimes Bestseller Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay. Vanessa has partnered with Tin House and The Rumpus to publish WOL alumni, and is currently partnering with Longreads to publish Mother Wound essays.  Vanessa has also served as guest editor of Aster(ix) and The James Franco Review.

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