“Go with what you know” is a writer’s maxim that inspires many hopeful authors to begin penning a memoir or novel based on their family history. Nothing could be easier, right?
But in reality, the art of researching and writing about one’s family history — and especially family secrets — is actually one of the biggest challenges a writer can take on: family stories are notoriously complex and at times told among members in an unreliable fashion. Not every member may be happy to assist their relative in unearthing painful or awkward family histories. Often, family stories span continents, making research difficult.
On July 18, the San Miguel Literary Sala’s Distinguished Speakers Series will help aspiring writers by bringing authors Julie Metz and Danielle Trussoni to a live Zoom discussion on the art of researching and writing about family secrets and the challenges of condensing it onto the page — be it fiction or memoir.
Ever since the pandemic forced the San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, literary organization to go virtual in 2020, it has been offering its annual diverse fare of author readings, writing workshops, interviews and panel discussions with major authors — including the well-known San Miguel Writers’ Conference — online each month, with events spread out over 2020 and 2021.
Known for its small, intimate workshops and author appearances that give audience members the opportunity for a brief one-on-one encounter with the guest speakers, the organization has strived to continue that tradition as it moved online. Events have been conducted via videoconferencing software that allows viewers to ask questions and interact with the guest. This casual discussion between the two authors will be no exception.
Julie Metz is the author of Eva and Eve: A Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What a War Left Behind. Interweaving personal memoir and family history, the book is a heartfelt ode to her mother, who escaped the Nazis as a child in Vienna in 1940. Metz is the New York Times bestselling author of Perfection. She has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Salon, Dame, Redbook and Glamour.
Danielle Trussoni, the bestselling author of the Angelology series of novels, has recently released a new work, The Ancestor, in which a woman unravels the truth about her family and learns that her true inheritance is not the castle in the Italian Alps or the family’s noble title but rather her genes and the choices her family has made.
The author currently writes a horror column for the New York Times Book Review and recently served as a fiction jurist for the Pulitzer Prizes. She holds an MFA in fiction from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she won the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award.
The two authors will conduct this event as an engaging and interactive conversation, with viewers allowed to “come up on stage” via videoconferencing and ask questions of the writers.
• Tickets for this event cost US $5–$50 and are available for purchase at the San Miguel Literary Sala website.
— Mexico News Daily