June Member Teleseminar
11 AM PDT 12 PM MDT 1 PM CDT 2 PM EDT
Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home, by Leah Lax, is about how she left an insular religious society and came out as a lesbian. This will be the first time she speaks about the impact of publishing her book on her relationships with family and community—and about what she has learned.
Leah says this about her journey:
The conundrum of writing memoir is that although memoir seems to imply a solo journey, we’re societal creatures, family creatures, and to write well we have to show ourselves within our worlds. Other people on the page have to be active and vivid even though we often don’t have permission to tell their stories. I will share my experience trying to navigate that tangle, both the successes and the fallout.
The Hasidic society has, informally, banned my book. Those of my seven children who remained in the fold were rocked by the publication, and the one who lives at the center of the movement has cut all contact—this in spite of my commitment from the outset to write a loving personal journey and not an expose or diatribe. But for those who actually agreed to read it, the experience of reading was course-changing.
Here’s what members may gain from participating in this discussion:
- I’ll share how I tried to prepare my family before my book was published. You’ll hear what worked…and what didn’t. You’ll hear the varieties of reactions among them, including the unexpected outcomes.
- You’ll see one memoirist’s use of craft as a tool to navigate through the web of stories; we’ll talk about point of view above all, but also theme, and finding a through line through the stories that surrounded us—which can be particularly challenging for wives and mothers.
- Most important, I think, is the opportunity to discuss this topic that so deeply affects us among other memoirists. Writers, by our very existence, are fundamentally opposed to censorship, but how do we negotiate that when it comes to loved ones?
Leah Lax has written award-winning fiction and nonfiction as well as an opera for the Houston Grand Opera. Her work has appeared in many places, including Salon, Dame, Lilith, and in anthologies by Seal Press and North Atlantic, but her memoir, Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home, by She Writes Press, is her first book. Among its many accolades, Uncovered was finalist for four different literary prizes, and was featured on NPR and at the Library of Congress. Leah is now working with composer Lori Laitman creating an opera based on her memoir.
Here’s my book:
And here’s an excerpt of Uncovered on the Advocate that shows an important piece of my story set squarely within the tangle of family: