Family Legacies


Fall 2016

There are many ways to tell the same story. As we know from eyewitness accounts — as well as from our own family gatherings around the Thanksgiving table — stories are shaped by the nuances of subjective experiences. In families, they become part of a shared history that is either accepted and embraced or renounced and disavowed. This weekend we will explore how family stories are shaped by, in Christina Baker Kline’s words, “the spaces between words, the silences that conceal long-kept secrets, the elisions that belie surface appearance.” As psychoanalysts and writers know well, shame and secrecy impair the capacity to reflect on and understand our histories and our motivations. Through writing, we claim the power to tell our own stories. In fiction and memoir alike, narratives take form around what is spoken and what is left out. They explore the legacy of trauma, from despair to resilience. In telling our stories, we do more than reveal histories and identities — we heal wounds, inflect new meanings, and often redefine the stories we inherit and pass on.

Coordinator: Catherine Baker-Pitts, Ph.D., LCSW


CATHERINE BAKER-PITTS is Co-Director of the postgraduate training program Minding the Body: Disruptions and Possibilities for Eating, Sex, Surgery, Subversion and Creativity at The Women’s Therapy Center Institute. She is a candidate at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is co-author of a clinical tool, The Body Observational Diagnostic Interview. As a Fahs Beck Scholar, her research has focused on gender, culture, technology, and the body. Her writing and clinical work in Manhattan affirm non-conforming bodies and gender creativity.

MARITA GOLDEN is the author of over a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. Her memoirs include Migrations of the Heart and Don’t Play in the Sun One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex. She is the President Emeritus and co-founder of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation has been honored for her writing and cultural work by The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Poets & Writers, and the Maryland Association of Librarians.   

SUE GRAND, PhD is faculty and supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis. She is faculty at the Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis; faculty, trauma program at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies; faculty, trauma program, Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis; faculty, Couples and Family Specialization at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis; and a visiting scholar at the Psychoanalytic Institute for Northern California. She is the author of two books: The Reproduction of Evil: A Clinical and Cultural Perspective (Analytic Press) and The Hero in the Mirror: From Fear to Fortitude. She is an associate editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. She is in private practice in NYC and in Teaneck, New Jersey and a member of the Institute for the Psychology of the Other

STEPHEN O’CONNOR is the author of the novel Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings from Viking-Penguin, as well as two collections of short fiction, Here Comes Another Lesson and Rescue, and of two works of nonfiction, Will My Name Be Shouted Out?, a memoir, and Orphan Trains; The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed, biography/ history. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, One Story, The Missouri Review, Poetry Magazine, Electric Literature, Agni, Threepenny Review, The Quarterly, Partisan Review, among many other places.  His story, “Next to Nothing” was selected by Jennifer Egan for Best American Short Stories 2014, and another story, “Ziggurat,” was read by Tim Curry on Selected Shorts in October 2011 and June 2013.  His essays and journalism have been published in The New York Times, DoubleTake, The Nation, Agni, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The New Labor Forum, and elsewhere.

He is the recipient of the Cornell Woolrich Fellowship in Creative Writing from Columbia University, the Visiting Fellowship for Historical Research by Artists and Writers from the American Antiquarian Society, and the DeWitt Wallace/ Reader’s Digest Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony. He teaches in the Sarah Lawrence MFA writing program.

MATTHEW THOMAS‘s New York Times-bestselling novel We Are Not Ourselves was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Folio Prize, named a Notable Book of the year by the New York Times, named one of Janet Maslin’s ten favorite books of the year in the New York Times, and named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple, and othersWe Are Not Ourselves is being translated into nineteen languages. Matthew has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine.