The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty 2019 Natashia Deón

Natashia Deón

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty 2019

About Natashia Deón

Natashia Deón is an NAACP Image Award Nominee and author of the critically-acclaimed novel, GRACE (Counterpoint Press), which was named a best book of 2016 by The New York Times, The Root, Kirkus Review, Book Riot, and Entropy Magazine, and has been featured in People Magazine, TIME Magazine and Red Book. GRACE won the 2017 American Library Association, Black Caucus Award for Best Debut Fiction. Deón is the 2018-2019 L.A. Times Book Award Prize judge for fiction and debut fiction and is creative writing professor for UCLA and has been a law professor for Trinity Law School. A practicing attorney, mother, and wife to an extraordinary man, Deón served as a 2017 U.S. Delegate to Armenia in partnership with the University of Iowa. She is the founder and co-host of Drunk Girls Bible Study podcast.

Find Conference Sessions with Natashia Deón

Backstory: Moving Forward, Looking Back
Natashia Deón

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre

Backstories help to create the world of your story. It tells us what’s driving your protagonist (and antagonist) to take the action, to attain a goal, and what your protagonist feels about passionately. Layering the characterization with these histories show us who they are today and will help you avoid writing stereotypes. The aim of this workshop is to address backstory and to get your creative juices flowing in writing scenes (the past affecting the present) and relevant history details.


The Hidden Lives of Books: Publication Ins and Outs
Natashia Deón, Matt Bell, Ramona Ausubel, Jonathan Danielson

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Business of Writing, Publishing

A book is more than just an end of one journey, it’s the beginning of another. A book is an artistic expression, but also a product, and putting a book together is a production. Before it ever hits the hands of readers, a book has already lived a life all its own. In this panel, novelists Ramona Ausubel, Matt Bell, and Natashia Deón share their publication journeys, advice on what to anticipate in the publication process, author platforms, and author commitments once the book hits the shelves. How do you find a publisher?


More About Natashia Deón

Deón, Natashia. Drunk Girls Bible Study

Real Talk about the Word. We have fun and your hosts Shaherah White, Angelique Ehat, and Natashia Deon are quirky and different, and we're excited about the Word like it's good gossip (Good News!). We don't fit nicely into any predetermined model of Christian womanhood, do's and don't. We are unique, as God says we are, and we want to show you how the Word isn't some confusing or difficult piece of literature, but real stories with a message. One that isn't just about people who lived thousands of years ago, but are here for you today, for a reason.


---. Excerpt of GraceThe Nervous Breakdown, June 14, 2016. 

Flash: Faunsdale, Alabama 1838

The knockin’s always there behind the wall in Momma’s room. I call it Momma’s music. My sister Hazel calls it Momma’s tired tune, a shrill note sucked and blown from a stiff reed.

Hazel’s the closest thing I got to a good daddy so she never beat me for misbehaving, never leaves me long, and never tries to touch me the wrong way. She keeps me safe in this world, keeps me safe from the knockin.


---. "My Son's Lifelong Silence Has Taught Me To Listen.Buzzfeed, May 7, 2016.

Sometimes, I’ll take a shower in the middle of the day because I need to stand alone and in silence without feeling guilty. Without drawing attention to myself. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. Especially my children.

The noise that words make in my professional worlds as lawyer, law professor, and writer have brought me to a partial deafness. I have to lean forward and tilt my head to one side if a student at the back of my class asks a question. There, I will ask her to stand up and, “Project!” I'll say. It’s “an exercise of elocution.” But it’s me. My growing weaknesses.


Gitterman, Judy. "Natashia Deón, Author.Lunch Ticket.

I was honest with the violence. I wanted be honest and I had to make a decision. I’m a graphic writer anyway. I couldn’t imagine that kind of violence in my own mind. But there’s some cases that I’ve had recently—2013, 2014 or 2015. There was a point in my career where I said, I can’t do this work anymore because I can’t read these stories, hear this testimony. Because I was representing victims. Most of the violence that is in those pages are actually from real-life situations, especially the rape. A lot was cut out by my editor. I think it haunted me. I wanted to present the crimes of rage that actually change people’s personality and their ability to see the world or trust the world. You could see how it happens and I wanted to show readers that there are some things that you just can’t un-see.


Wright, Abbe. "Interview with Natashia Deón." Read it Forward, 2017. 

Natashia Deón’s debut novel Grace is a sweeping, intergenerational saga featuring a group of outcast women during one of the most compelling eras in American history. It is a universal story of freedom, love, and motherhood, told in a dazzling and original voice set against a rich and transporting historical backdrop. It was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by Jennifer Senior in the New York TimesPeople magazine called it “an immersive tale” and Newsday deemed the novel a “haunting portrait of slavery, love, and violence.”