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Naked Nonfiction: Bare Your Soul and Reveal Your Truth Without Feeling Shamed, Blamed, or Too Darn Vulnerable – with Mariah Burton Nelson

  • 12 May 2022
  • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Zoom


Registration is closed

[for any writers over age 18]

What would my mother say? How would my boss feel about that? What if I get trolled?

When we disclose our opinions, feelings, failings, and experiences, we risk upsetting friends, acquaintances, and community. We risk estrangement from family. We risk backlash at work. With a few simple words or stories, we might ignite an inferno that inadvertently spreads like wildfire, inflames others, and blows back in our own faces, choking our airways.

Who dares jot down a word?

In this workshop I’ll share guiding principles to help you discern why, when, and how to tell your truth. You’ll hear my lessons learned the hard way after publishing books that reveal such things as my own lesbian identity and the statutory rape I experienced at the hands of a trusted swim coach. I also exposed a pattern of rape and domestic violence by football players in The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football – which resulted in all manner of public abuse, including death threats.

We’ll discuss the difference between privacy and secrecy. I’ll offer practical advice about how to set boundaries pre-publication to protect yourself. And I’ll walk you through an exercise to help you practice (privately!) selecting the right amount of truth-telling and self-disclosure, about the right subjects, in the right context, for the right reasons.


A former Stanford and professional basketball player who has written primarily about the empowerment of women through sports, Mariah Burton Nelson has written creative nonfiction books for Random House, Harcourt Brace, Harper San Francisco, and William Morrow — and stories for Bay to Ocean Journal 2021, The New York Times, Newsweek, Newsday, Working Woman, Ms., Glamour, USA Today, and other publications. She wrote columns for The Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal and has won numerous writing awards.
     She has given public presentations in 49 states and has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, PrimeTime Live, Dateline, Nightline, Donahue, Larry King Live, Crossfire, CBS Evening News, Geraldo Rivera, National Public Radio's Diane Rehm Show, Terry Gross Show, and myriad other shows. She’s working on a graphic memoir about aging, death, motherlove, and ancient goddess figurines.




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