A white woman in her early 30s, with a buzz cut, hoop earrings, and a black top.




Katie Bannon is a writer, developmental editor, and educator. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Emerson College and is a graduate of GrubStreet's Memoir Incubator. Her memoir manuscript, which chronicles her experience as a compulsive hair puller, was a finalist for the Permafrost Nonfiction Book Prize. Her personal essays have been featured in NPR, Narratively, Salon, and Cognoscenti, among others. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and two cats. You can follow her on Twitter @katiedbannon or find her at her website www.katiebannon.com.

SESSION: Writing about Mental Health

Mental health is often branded "taboo" and, for writers of memoir and personal essay, can represent some of the most vulnerable and challenging material to write about. But there’s a reason these types of narratives are so sought after: at their best, they speak to our darkest truths and teach us what it means to be human.

In this session, we'll dive headfirst into these treacherous waters and discuss strategies for crafting compelling, emotionally resonant personal narratives about mental health. We'll study works by Roxane Gay, Esmé Weijun Wang, and others to uncover ways to write beautifully crafted, "un-put-down-able" memoirs and personal essays that center on mental health. We'll also discuss strategies for self-care and "productive procrastination" so you can stay well during the writing process. You’ll leave the session with take-home writing prompts and a toolbox of ways to write powerfully about even your most difficult stories.