PANEL: The challenges of writing traumatic themes

headshots of three authors, with the text 'writers week 2023' on the bottom edge with the dates
Thurs, 2 March 2023
7pm – 8pm
£8 (£6 Concessions)
Keynote
Online

A discussion on the ways in which contemporary novelists explore themes of trauma in their fiction.

Trauma or a traumatic incident often sit as a central theme in many short stories and novels, be they crime, psychological thriller, dystopia or literary fiction. But exploring difficult themes through works of fiction is never straightforward and the challenges of writing trauma in ways which are both powerful and sensitively handled is something writers have to contend with as they draft their work. In this discussion, three contemporary novelists discuss their own approaches to writing traumatic themes in their own work; sharing particular challenges they have faced along the way and offering suggestions for how to get the balance right. 

About the writers

Colette Snowden began her writing career with short stories, and her story ‘Blue’ was featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Opening Lines’ series of short stories by new writers. After winning a Commonword competition for the first three chapters of a novel, she completed ‘The Secret to Not Drowning’, which was published by Bluemoose Books in 2015. Her second novel ‘Captain Jesus’ was published by Bluemoose in 2021 and she is now working on a third. She lives in Manchester and works as a copywriter for a marketing agency.

Elizabeth Chakrabarty’s debut novel Lessons in Love and Other Crimes (Indigo, 2021), inspired by experience of race hate crime, was both longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and also shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize in 2022. Her short stories, shortlisted for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022 and the Asian Writer Short Story Prize 2016, are published in Crime Stories (Comma, 2022) and Dividing Lines (Dahlia, 2017). Other creative-critical writing appears in Visual Verse, Gal-Dem, Wasafiri and in Imagined Spaces (Saraband Books, 2020), and in translation in Glänta and Deus Ex Machina.

Jon Ransom is the author of The Whale Tattoo. He was a mentee on the Escalator Talent Development scheme at the National Centre for Writing. Recently he was awarded a grant by Arts Council England to develop his new novel, The Gallopers. Ransom’s short stories have appeared in Foglifter Journal, SAND Journal, and Queer Life, Queer Love, amongst others. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

Who is this event for?

Most suitable for intermediate level but open to all

About Writers’ Week

Writer’s Week is a week of online events for writers at all stages navigating how we work, what we cover, and the support we need for our writing lives to thrive. See the full schedule and information about a weekly ticket here.

Bursary places

Limited bursary places are available for those who would struggle to pay the full price for an event, workshop or course with New Writing South. To apply for a bursary please fill out this application form. We are also offering limited 50% bursaries for this event in light of the cost-of-living crisis. To apply for a 50% bursary, please fill out the 50% bursary application form.

Please note, we are unable to refund tickets to this event.