Strategies for Writing About Childhood Trauma, featuring Javier Zamora

Mar 4, 2024

Javier Zamora

This week Write-minded wades into the important topic of writing about childhood trauma. Trauma is at the heart of many of our stories, whether you’re writing coming-of-age or only touching upon childhood stories in the context of specific memoir scenes (or raw material for fiction). Javier’s memoir, Solito, is a stunning book about his nine-week journey from El Salvador to the US as an unaccompanied minor when he was just nine years old. The original journey nearly killed him, and in this generous interview he speaks to how the journey of writing about his experience saved him.


Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador in 1990. Javier’s parents left for the United States when he was a little boy and he was left in the care of his grandparents, who helped raise him until he migrated to the US as an unaccompanied minor when he was just nine years old. His first poetry collection, Unaccompanied, explores some of these themes. His New York Times bestselling memoir, Solito, retells his nine-week odyssey across Guatemala, Mexico, and eventually through the Sonoran Desert. Zamora was a 2018-2019 Radcliffe Fellow and holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University MacDowell, Macondo, the National Endowment for the Arts, and others. Javier lives and writes in Tucson.

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