Writers’ Conference Presents Joseph Boyden and a Memoir Panel

Writers’ Conference Presents Joseph Boyden and a Memoir Panel

By Mittie Roger


Most of us living in Mexico are in closer contact with active indigenous communities than we were before we moved here. Celebrated Canadian writer Joseph Boyden writes about the First Nations people of Canada, with themes similar to all indigenous groups.


Indigenous stories have long been pigeonholed into harmful stereotypes: violence, drunkenness, poverty, obesity, the wise elder, the noble savage, the Indian princess. While the most brazen stereotypes may have disappeared, insidious misrepresentations remain in popular media. For indigenous people, these caricatures instill limiting beliefs and decrease cultural pride. For non-indigenous people, they dehumanize indigenous individuals and diminish respect for their cultural heritage. 


For Boyden, these pressing concerns were at the forefront of his writing process. He sought to show the multi-faceted lives of First Nations individuals through his novels, screenplays, essays, and speaking engagements. The Canadian novelist is best known for his award-winning trilogy about the Bird family. The novels, as well as his poems and essays, must be taken in the context of historical displacement, family separation, colonization, and efforts to eradicate indigenous culture through assimilation. His compelling, page-turning novels examine poverty, substance abuse, and violence through this causal lens, also presenting the power of indigenous culture such as cooperation, solidarity, family and social bonds, and humor.


The San Miguel Writers’ Conference’s Literary Season Online will present Boyden in conversation with Canadian literary doyen Hal Wake on Saturday, October 17, at 6pm Tickets are available at sanmiguelwritersconference.org.


Memoir Panel

The popularity of the memoir genre has exploded recently to become one of the most popular forms of nonfiction, or in some cases fiction. How do memoirists decide whether to fictionalize their lives? How much liberty can they take with the absolute facts if they are writing nonfiction? How do they manage relationships with family members or friends whose deep secrets or less attractive sides they may be revealing? As a reader of memoir, how much can you trust what you are reading?

A panel of four eminent memoirists will tackle these thorny challenges in an expertly moderated, online discussion on Saturday, October 17 at 2pm For a front row seat to this event, visit sanmiguelwritersconference.org.


Isabel Allende Book Discussion

The San Miguel Literary Season Online is proud to present the beloved author Isabel Allende, who will appear on Sunday, November 8 at 6pm Preceding this event, we are hosting a book discussion group about her newest novel, “A Long Petal of the Sea.” Hosted by Dena Cruz and Mary Finley, it is free and will take place on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30pm For complete information: sanmiguelwritersconference.org.