Mary Anne Mohanraj- Writing the Taboo

  • April 11, 2019
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka IL


Registration is closed

Dorothy Allison suggests (in her book Skin:  Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature) that the best writing happens when one is terrified, and writes through the fear.  That's great advice, but the question is *how* does one write through the fear?  It's often frightening when you're trying write about subject matter that is in some manner taboo: material that violates social norms, that might upset family members, or that is simply personally difficult to confront.

In the hands-on workshop, we'll explore a variety of taboo topics.  We'll look at how brilliant writers have delved into material that was forbidden for their place and time (some of which might seem quite tame by today's standards), and then work through a series of exercises designed to push you into challenging places.  At the end of the session, you should have some tools to lead you to stronger, braver work that takes more risks.  Maybe it'll challenge your audience too!

Important note:  You won't be required to share this work with anyone, though I may ask for volunteers to read bits of what they've written.

Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins),
The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and eleven other titles. Bodies in
Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today
Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages.  Mohanraj
founded the Hugo-nominated science fiction magazine, Strange Horizons,
and serves as editor-in-chief of Jaggery, a South Asian literary
journal ( She received a Breaking Barriers Award from
the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts
organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was
Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary
organizations, DesiLit ( and The Speculative
Literature Foundation (  Mohanraj is Clinical
Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at
Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside
Chicago, with her husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog.
She is currently working on a breast cancer memoir, a science fiction
novel, and a collection of poetry.   

9-9:30 Socializing 

9:30-12 Program 

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