PFL Author Talk: Melanie Brooks in Conversation with Susan Conley

Tuesday, October 3 at 5:30 p.m.

In her new memoir, A Hard Silence, Melanie Brooks interrogates the silence that surrounded her father’s illness after he was infected with HIV from a blood transfusion in 1985. In retelling this story on her own terms, she’s able to travel beyond her trauma and recognize the value of inviting readers to share in the experience with her. With acclaimed author Susan Conley, Melanie will discuss the redemptive work of bringing such hard stories to the page, and together they will offer both writers and readers insights on how rigorously exploring our personal pain can bring collective healing and understanding.

This program will be presented in person and on Zoom.  Registration is required for Zoom only.

Register for Zoom

Melanie Brooks is the author of A Hard Silence: One Daughter Remaps Family, Grief, and Faith When HIV/AIDS Changes It All (Vine Leaves Press, September 2023) and Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma (Beacon Press, 2017). She teaches professional writing at Northeastern University and creative nonfiction in the MFA program at Bay Path University in Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast writing program. She recently completed a Certificate of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in Psychology Today, the HuffPost, Yankee Magazine, the Washington PostMs. MagazineCreative Nonfiction, and other notable publications. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, two children (when they are home from college), and two Labs.


Susan Conley is the award-winning author of five critically-acclaimed books, including her newest, best-selling novel Landslide which was named a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” a TODAY Show “Best Summer Read,” a Vanity Fair “Book We Can’t Stop Thinking About,” and a New York Times “Paperback Row” Best Paperback Pick. It was also named a “Best Book” by Good Morning America, The New York Post, Medium, Bustle, Biblio Lifestyle and others, and it was chosen as Maine NPR’s “All Books Considered” Bookclub Pick.

Her writing has appeared in places like The New York Times MagazineThe Paris ReviewLithubThe Virginia Quarterly ReviewThe Harvard ReviewDowneast Magazine, Maine Magazine, Wildsam and others. She’s been awarded multiple fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Maine Arts Commission, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. She’s won the Maine Book Award and the Maine Award for Publishing Excellence and has been a featured Tedx Speaker, where her talk the “Power of Story,” has been viewed widely. She’s taught at a host of colleges and art-residencies including Emerson College, Colby College, The University of Massachusetts, as the Jack Kerouac Visiting Fellow, The Haystack School, The Spannochia Foundation, La Napoule Foundation, The Beijing Hutong and the Maine Media Workshops. She’s on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA Program and is co-founder of the Telling Room, a creative writing lab for kids in Portland, Maine.

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