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Elena's BOOKS

Photo Courtesy of

Elena Schwolsky

Walking In Havana: A Memoir of AIDS and Healing in Cuba

 - Non-fiction

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Schwolsky WORKSHOP

Workshop for :

Elena Schwolsky


Whether we are writing about a culture other than our own in memoir or fiction, what we know and don’t know is key to the process. 


In this workshop, we will explore, through our own writing and through reading excerpts: What it feels like when someone makes assumptions about us vs. what it feels like when someone really gets us. The ways in which our own cultural background and hidden biases can shape the way we write about “the other”—whether it be an imagined character or place in fiction or those we write about in memoir.


How can we develop our capacity to write respectfully and sensitively about someone or some place that differs from what is familiar to us—whether it be in class, race, gender, geography, family, dreams, fears, and challenges?


In what ways can we strengthen our writing to reflect insights gained from what we have done today?


Participants will have an opportunity to create their own list of things they want to explore on their own, and I will provide a list of resources for further study of this topic.


Photo Courtesy of

Elena Schwolsky

Elena Schwolsky, RN, MPH, whose book, Waking in Havana: A Memoir of AIDS and Healing in Cuba, was published in November, 2019 by She Writes Press.


Her essays have appeared in The American Journal of Nursing and The Veteran, and her work has been included in the anthologies Storied Dishes: What Our Family Recipes Tell Us About Who We Are and Where We’ve Been and Reflections on Nursing: 80 inspiring stories on the art and science of nursing. A chapter she co-wrote appears in the textbook Children, Families and AIDS: Psychosocial and Therapeutic Issues.


Schwolsky is the recipient of a writing award from the Barbara Deming Money for Women Fund and is proud to be recognized as the madrina (godmother) of Proyecto Memorias, the Cuban AIDS Quilt project

This is Elena’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “WRITING ACROSS BORDERS”.

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