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The Moravian Writers’ Conference comes back to campus March 18-19, 2022 after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Bethlehem, PA, February 22, 2022: Today, Moravian University announced that the Moravian Writers’ Conference will return in March 2022 with the theme of Writing, Health, and Justice, featuring free workshops, a roundtable Q&A, a keynote talk, and a masterclass offered by writers, activists, medical practitioners, and narrative medicine specialists. In aligning with Moravian University’s year-long “InFocus” theme of healthcare, conference events will explore the ways writing can and should be used to address health and justice in today’s world. Topics like coping with workplace trauma through writing, narrative medicine, poetry, and more are intended to be powerful and rejuvenating for all participants, particularly during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference will begin on March 18 with Hasshan Batts’ 2 PM in-person workshop “StoryHealing: We Are Our Medicine”. Batts is the Founder and President of the Prison Survivors Network, Executive Director of Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, and adjunct professor and post-doctoral research fellow at Lehigh University.

Following this workshop will be a virtual roundtable and Q&A session at 4 PM, featuring conference speakers Hasshan Batts, Carly Bergey, Nicole Defenbaugh, Nina Solis, and BJ Ward. 

Acclaimed writer Porochista Khakpour will deliver the virtual keynote address at 7 PM on March 18 titled "My Journey in Disability and Chronic Illness on the Margins of Identity in the Pre- & Post- Covid World”. Khakpour is the author of four critically acclaimed books, most recently Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity (Vintage Books, 2020), which Ploughshares called “fearless.” In 2018 she published the memoir Sick (HarperCollins, 2018), which Kirkus Review praised as “lucid, eloquent, and unflinchingly honest.” Sick was named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by the Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Nylon, Electric Literature, Huffington Post, Bitch, The Millions, The Rumpus, Autostraddle and others. Khakpour was called one of Dazed’s “Top American Writers You need to be Reading,” and Open Road Media’s “10 Amazing Female Novelists Under 50.” Her next book is Teherangles, coming from Pantheon in 2023. On Mar. 19, Khakpour will continue with an all-levels virtual masterclass exploring creative nonfiction through exercises, lectures, and mini workshops.

Additional workshops on March 19 will include Nina Solis’s virtual workshop titled “Coping with Workplace Trauma as a Healthcare Provider,” Carly Bergey’s in-person workshop titled “Narrative Medicine: A Primer,” and BJ Ward’s in-person workshop titled “Circle of Associates: A Poetry Workshop.” Nina Solis is a hematology/oncology/Covid-19 nurse and emerging writer based in Philadelphia, PA. Carly Bergey is a speech language pathologist with expertise in voice care, upper airway disorders, and swallowing. BJ Ward is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems 1990-2013 (North Atlantic Books), which received the Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Also speaking at the roundtable and Q&A session will be Nicole Defenbaugh, an Associate Professor at Weber State University who, prior to reentering academia, was a Clinical Communication Specialist for over eight years at St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Also, on March 19 is “Writing, Health, and the Outdoors”, which features a bring-your-own-lunch and easy walk near Moravian University campus led by conference co-directors Kate Brandes and Joyce Hinnefeld.

Registration is now open here, and attendees can register separately for each event they choose.

Event contact(s):
Joyce Hinnefeld and Kate Brandes, Conference Co-Directors
Moravian University, or
610.861.1392 or 610.703.5620

Media contact:
Michael Corr
Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Communications

About Moravian University
Moravian University is the nation's sixth-oldest university, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees that blend liberal arts with professional programs. For more than 275 years, the Moravian University degree has been preparing students for reflective lives, fulfilling careers, and transformative leadership in a world of change. Moravian University is a member of The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), a national consortium of selective, small to mid-size independent colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement. Visit to learn more about how the Moravian University focus on education for all prepares its students for life-long success.