Three writers with a penchant for sharing secrets will spill about the process of memoir writing at the University of the Fraser Valley on March 18.
UFV writer-in-residence Lindsay Wong will host memoirists Jenny Heijun Wills and Antonio Michael Downing for an online reading and conversation about the authors’ writing process.
Wills is a Canadian writer whose memoir Older Sister, Not Necessarily Related won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction in 2019.
Her book was also named as one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 Books that Shaped 2019, the CBC’s Best Canadian Non-Fiction of 2019 and Adoptee Readings’ 100 Adoptee-Authored Books from the Decade. She teaches writing and critical race studies in literature at the University of Winnipeg.
Downing is the author of Saga Boy. He grew up in southern Trinidad, northern Ontario, Brooklyn, and Kitchener.
He is a musician, writer and activist based in Toronto. His debut novel, Molasses, was published to critical acclaim. In 2017, he was named by the RBC Taylor Prize as one of Canada’s top emerging authors for nonfiction.
Lindsay Wong is the author of the bestselling, award-winning memoir The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug-Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family.
She has a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and a master of fine arts in literary non-fiction from Columbia University, and is now based in Vancouver. Summer of Love and Misfortune is her first young adult novel.
Wong says that memoir writing is “not fun or for the faint of heart.”
“I read somewhere that if people didn’t want to be written about badly, then they should have behaved better. I have no advice about not offending loved ones or not-so-loved ones because the act of writing a memoir will always offend someone, even if they are not in the book,” she says.
“I tell my students that memoir is essentially your story so you should shape it how you see fit, but realistically, if you try to please everyone, you can lose sight of your story and your voice. There’s usually a reason why someone needs to write a memoir, and they are not doing it for money or fame. I’d say write the version of the truth that feels consciously right to you.”
The free session runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Zoom. Register at eventbrite.ca.