Conference Schedule

COVID-19 Statement

As of March 6, 2022, Moravian University’s policy states that masks are now optional in campus buildings.

Currently, we plan to be in-person for the Hasshan-Batts, Carly Bergey, and BJ Ward workshops.

We will also reserve a room on campus for people interested in watching the online Roundtable and Q&A event in-person together.

Friday, March 18

2:00-3:30 PM Workshop

StoryHealing: We Are Our Medicine with Hasshan Batts (in-person; Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences, Room 129; mask optional)

This session will focus on decolonizing wellness through radical welcome. Participants will explore centering our strengths, our stories, and authentic connection to support individuals, families, institutions and communities impacted by interpersonal and structural violence in healing and restoration. Come prepared to think, write, and share in a space of radical welcome.

4:00-5:30 PM Roundtable and Q&A (online) with:

7:30-9:00 PM Keynote Reading Talk with Porochista Khakpour (online)

My Journey in Disability and Chronic Illness on the Margins of Identity in the Pre- & Post- Covid World

As a queer Iranian Muslim immigrant woman I have known what it means to be an outsider here on many levels—we were refugees from the Iran-Iraq War and our entry to this country was not a warm one. So what does a consciousness like this experience when confronted with the failings of the body on top of all these other challenges? After a lifetime of illness, my health went into its first proper remission in February of 2020, just a month before the pandemic hit home. Suddenly my memoir SICK earned out during this period. More and more people sadly joined our illness and disability worlds—and more people began grasping our cautions about “ableism”—but my concerns remained. In this talk, we will explore what it means for all of us in this moment of crisis  to navigate our complex identities in a very unwell present and future, when we still have yet to reckon with the wounds of the past.

Saturday, March 19 

9:30-11:00 AM Master Class with Porochista Khakpour (online)

Master Class in Creative Nonfiction: An all-levels exploratory course in the most popular prose genre through exercises, lectures, and mini-workshops. We will dive deeply into the personal essay, the memoir, narrative nonfiction, feature journalism, and even technical writing. We will also discuss everything from the business end (publication opportunities, agents, queries, proposals, etc) to the more emotional/spiritual/psychological side of the art (what it really means to write the truth, what stories are ours and what aren't, how to be honest with your readers and yourself). 

9:30-11:00 AM Workshop

Coping with Workplace Trauma as a Healthcare Provider with Nina Solis (online)

In this online workshop, we will be discussing the types of trauma that healthcare workers might face, the mental and physical implications of traumatic experiences, and ways to manage and process the trauma we are subjected to. This workshop will consist of three parts. Part one will be an informative session to set ground rules, go over commonly used terminology, and explore the topic of trauma in medicine. Part two will be an active writing session. Participants will be given writing prompts to examine their own experiences. Part three will be a group discussion to share some of what we wrote, and discuss methods of self preservation and healing. We will also be discussing some ways we can hold our workplaces accountable for the wellbeing and safety of employees. This workshop will be a safe and non-judgemental space to share.

12:00-1:30 PM

Lunch: Bring your own or pick something up on campus or nearby, followed by:

Writing, Health, and the Outdoors: weather permitting, a brief (and easy) walk near the Moravian University campus for any who are interested, led by conference co-directors Kate Brandes and Joyce Hinnefeld.

2:00-3:30 PM Workshops

Narrative Medicine: A Primer with Carly Bergey (in-person; Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences, Room 113; mask optional)

Illness, stress and the novel complications of living in a pandemic can displace people from their normal lives. One may be operating within the usual schema of day to day activities until a disruption like sickness, a country-wide lockdown, or a surge of critically ill patients causes a person to consider themselves living in a different story, a narrative they don’t recognize.

In this generative workshop, participants will be introduced to the Narrative Medicine Framework as a means of processing this displacement. The history and development of the Narrative Medicine field will be discussed as well as introductory skill building in narrative medicine will be provided. Additionally, writing prompts will be provided for participants to explore and share their experiences as laypeople, patients and/or healthcare providers. In this interactive workshop, writing can be a vehicle to improve the healthcare experience whether giving or receiving but also, writing will be explored as a type of medicine itself. 

Circle of Associates: A Poetry Workshop with BJ Ward (in-person; Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences, Room 117; mask optional)

Much emphasis in contemporary writing workshops is placed on “writing until you discover something you didn’t know you knew.” It’s terrific advice, but how does one do that, especially when writing about something one has considered for a long (and often difficult) time, such as a health issue? One path to consider is starting with an object and writing outward (as opposed to the inward-gazing of many poems with first-person narratives).

Examples of this compositional strategy can be found in poems by Yehuda Amichai, Tracy K. Smith, Stanley Kunitz, and Li-Young Lee, among others. We will examine and discuss the technique and craft of these poems on Saturday, March 19th, after which all participants will receive a writing prompt. You will have time to write, then we will reconvene to discuss the resultant, first-draft poems (of those who volunteer) with sincere and compassionate feedback.

No prep work is required to take this workshop. Participants need to bring only pen/pencil, paper, and an open mind.


Moravian University welcomes and encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Campus Police at 610-861-1421.