Writer’s Day October 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019  ::  1:00-4:30 pm

Bay Path Writers’ Day: The Healing Power of Narrative Medicine

Hosted by Bay Path University’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction

Keynote Speaker: Dinty W. Moore

Panelists: Melanie BrooksCharles CoeNina GabyDr. Kristina Hallett, Richard Hoffman and Marianne Leone

Welcoming remarks: Suzanne Strempek Shea, Leanna James Blackwell, and special guest Dr. Andrew Lam

This afternoon of speakers and panels on the varieties of narrative medicine is designed for anyone with an interest in the power of writing to help others or one’s own self recover from illness and trauma, and/or find a healing outlet when living with a disability (or caring for an ill or disabled dependent). Health care professionals, social workers, educators, psychologists, caregivers, writers, and trauma survivors alike will learn:

  • How to focus on the relational and psychological aspects of physical illness, disability, and trauma
  • How writing promotes creativity, self-reflection, and personal expression that can be used as a powerful tool in healing
  • How to integrate personal narratives into your own medical or mental health practice, classroom, or workshop
  • How to take the first steps toward writing your own story of illness, trauma, caregiving, or disability
  • Coffee and light refreshments provided. Author books will be available for purchase and signing. (Please bring a notebook and pen or laptop for a short writing exercise during Panel #2.) Each presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.


12:30 – 1:00 pm Check-in and registration

1:00 – 1:10 pm Welcome: Suzanne Strempek Shea and Leanna James Blackwell

Suzanne Strempek Shea is Bay Path’s writer in residence and author of eleven fiction and nonfiction books including Songs From a Lead-Lined Room: Notes – High and Low – From My Journey Through Breast Cancer and Radiation. Leanna James Blackwell, essayist and playwright, is professor of creative writing, director of Bay Path’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction, and a 25-year practitioner of meditation and mindfulness.

1:10 – 1:20 Introduction: Dr. Andrew Lam

Andrew Lam is a Bay Path University Board of Trustees member, retinal surgeon, and author of books including Repentance and Saving Sight: An Eye Surgeon’s Look at Life Behind the Mask and the Heroes Who Change the Way We See It.

1:20 – 2:00 Keynote address: Dinty W. Moore

Dinty W. Moore is a writer, teacher, and founding editor of the influential literary journal Brevity. He is the author of numerous books including The Mindful Writer and The Story Cure, and co-editor of the newly released Bodies of Truth: Personal Narratives on Illness, Disability, and Medicine.

2:00 – 2:15: Break

2:15 – 3:15 Panel 1: “Healing and Recovery: Narrative Practices” with Charles Coe, Dr. Kristina Hallett, and Nina Gaby

Charles Coe was Bay Path University’s 2017 commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Poet, teacher, and community leader, he is the author of books including the recently released Memento Mori, a meditation on mortality, loss, and change. Dr. Kristina Hallett is associate professor in graduate psychology and the director of clinical training at Bay Path, and author of the book and companion workbook Own Best Friend: Eight Steps to a Life of Purpose, Passion and Ease. Nina Gaby is a psychiatric nurse-practitioner specializing in addiction and trauma, and a widely published writer who writes and creates visual art related to trauma and healing.

3:15 – 3:30: Break

3:30 – 4:30 Panel 2: “Writing Your Medical/Trauma Narrative: A Workshop” with Richard Hoffman, Melanie Brooks, and Marianne Leone

Richard Hoffman is a poet, essayist, and author of memoirs including Half the House and Love and Fury; senior writer in residence at Emerson College; and former chair of PEN New England. Melanie Brooks is the writer of nationally published essays on trauma and healing and the author of Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art From Trauma. Marianne Leone, television and film actor, is the author of memoirs including Jesse: A Mother’s Story, about the life and untimely death of her son, a boy with cerebral palsy who loved to windsurf and write poetry; and Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back.

4:30 – 4:45: Wrap-up and goodbyes


Bay Path University’s Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center
1 Denslow Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028

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