Grace Talusan

The third edition of TELL-ALL was April 11, 2019!

Middlesex Lounge
315 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Doors open at 7pm – Show begins at 7:30pm

Free Admission. General Seating.

Special Guest: Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers, forthcoming from Restless Books, April 2, 2019.

(Photo by Alonso Nichols)

Born in the Philippines, young Grace Talusan moves with her family to a New England suburb in the 1970s. At school, she confronts racism as one of the few kids with a brown face. At home, the confusion is worse: her grandfather’s nightly visits to her room leave her hurt and terrified, and she learns to build a protective wall of silence that maps onto the larger silence practiced by her Catholic Filipino family. Talusan learns as a teenager that her family’s legal status in the country has always hung by a thread—for a time, they were “illegal.” Family, she’s told, must be put first.

The abuse and trauma Talusan suffers as a child affects all her relationships, her mental health, and her relationship with her own body. Later, she learns that her family history is threaded with violence and abuse. And she discovers another devastating family thread: cancer. In her thirties, Talusan must decide whether to undergo preventive surgeries to remove her breasts and ovaries. Despite all this, she finds love, and success as a teacher. On a fellowship, Talusan and her husband return to the Philippines, where she revisits her family’s ancestral home and tries to reclaim a lost piece of herself.

Not every family legacy is destructive. From her parents, Talusan has learned to tell stories in order to continue. The generosity of spirit and literary acuity of this debut memoir are a testament to her determination and resilience. In excavating and documenting such abuse and trauma, Talusan gives voice to unspeakable experience, and shines a light of hope into the darkness.

Tell-All will also feature readings by four emerging writers:

Diane Fraser is a writer and magician, who also works in public health. She was one of two nationally selected Stadler Semester for Young Poets fellows at Bucknell University and won several poetry awards. Her poems were published in The Boston Phoenix, Sinister Wisdom, ArtMedia, and other literary journals. Diane is an incubee in GrubStreet’s 2018-2019 Memoir Incubator Program. She’s working on a memoir about how she used ritual magic to reckon with her haunting family troubles and embrace the power she carried within her all along. She lives in Boston.

Donna Luff is a writer and sociologist. She was born in Birmingham, England and works at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School and is a member of GrubStreet Writers. Donna has written about friendship, immigration, surfing, and how being a Bruce Springsteen fan has affected her life. She is working on a book-length memoir, American Romance, a coming-of-age story set in the shadow of the early AIDS epidemic. Her writing has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, Philadelphia Review of Books and Halfway Down The Stairs. She is co-author of a chapter on women fans in Bruce Springsteen and Popular Music: Rhetoric, Memorial, and Contemporary Culture ( Routledge, 2017) and a related article in Interdisciplinary Literary Studies (forthcoming).

Theresa Okokon is a social worker, a yoga teacher, a storyteller, a writer, and the host of a nationally televised storytelling TV show with Massmouth, WGBH and WORLD Channel. She is a student in the GrubStreet Essay Incubator program, and she just began submitting her writing for publication within the last few months. Theresa’s work is personal, voice-driven, and filled with accidental wit. Her essays are intricate and layered as she puts equal emphasis on the mundane and the magnificent. Theresa Instagram selfies, gorgeous cocktails, food porn, and occasional hoop videos at @ohh.jeezzz.

Named by Bustle as one of eight women writers with advice to follow, Tracy Strauss is former essays editor of The Rumpus and winner of the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Award for nonfiction. The 2015 Writers’ Room of Boston Nonfiction fellow, her essays and short memoir have appeared in Ms., Salon, Poets & Writers Magazine, Ploughshares, The Southampton Review, and other publications. A contributor to Glamour’s sex and relationships column, Tracy has appeared on television as a relationship blogger for the Huffington Post. Her debut #MeToo-themed self-help/relationships cum memoir, I Just Haven’t Met You Yet: Finding Empowerment in Dating, Love, and Life, a modern day Bridget Jones’s Diary-meets-Eat, Pray Love, will be released by Skyhorse Publishing on May 7. Tracy served as the 2013-2014 VP of the Women’s National Book Association Boston chapter. She currently teaches writing at the New England Conservatory and GrubStreet. In her free time, she moonlights as a Zumba instructor.