Grubbie Debut: Jennifer De Leon with Grace Talusan, White Space

Join Porter Square Books and Grubstreet in the latest installment of the Grubbie Debuts series, featuring longtime GrubStreet student, instructor, and board member Jennifer De Leon for the launch of her debut nonfiction collection, White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, and Writing. Jennifer will be joined in conversation with author and GrubStreet Instructor Grace Talusan. This event is free and open to all, hosted on Crowdcast.








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Sometime in her twenties, Jennifer De Leon asked herself, “What would you do if you just gave yourself permission?” While her parents had fled Guatemala over three decades earlier when the country was in the grips of genocide and civil war, she hadn’t been back since she was a child. She gave herself permission to return—to relearn the Spanish that she had forgotten, unpack her family’s history, and begin to make her own way.

Alternately honest, funny, and visceral, this powerful collection follows De Leon as she comes of age as a Guatemalan-American woman and learns to navigate the space between two worlds. Never rich or white enough for her posh college, she finds herself equally adrift in her first weeks in her parents’ home country. During the years to follow, she would return to Guatemala again and again, meet ex-guerrillera and genocide survivors, get married in the old cobblestoned capital of Antigua, and teach her newborn son about his roots.

Jennifer De Leon is author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From and editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education. De Leon has published prose in over a dozen literary journals, including Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review, and is a GrubStreet instructor and board member. She is assistant professor of creative writing at Framingham State University and makes her home in the Boston area.

Grace Talusan's memoir, The Body Paperswon the Massachusetts Book Award in nonfiction, the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, and was a New York Times Editors' Choice selection. Her short story, "The Book of Life and Death," was the Boston Book Festival's 2020 One City One Story pick and she published dispatches from the pandemic in the anthologies, And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again and Alone Together, which raise funds for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. She taught writing for many years at Tufts University and Grub Street, and is currently the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University. 

This event is part of the Grubbie Debut series - join us for future events! Learn more about Grub Street at

Register for the event on Crowdcast here:

Event date: 

Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Virtual, via Crowdcast
White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing (Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781625345677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Massachusetts Press - March 26th, 2021

The Body Papers: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632060242
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Restless Books - March 3rd, 2020