AWP Guest Bloggers Sought (Friday’s Panels)

February 6, 2014 § 24 Comments

chinook_salmonOnce again, we are looking for AWP attendees to volunteer to guest blog on panels, readings, events, happenings related to the world of creative nonfiction, memoir, literary narrative, the lyric essay, etcetera. We will endeavor to post some of these brief reports during the conference, and will run some of them post-conference.

Below you will find Friday’s panels focusing on nonfiction.  If you want to claim one, feel free to do so in the comments section.  (Sometimes two people blog report on the same panel, and that’s okay too.  Three is probably too many, though.)

We are looking for two things: (1) gleaned information that might be useful or interesting to folks who can’t make the Seattle conference, and (2) Just fun times.  You can blog about the drunk poet in the elevator if you want to and can make it interesting.  Or go catch some fish at the Pike Place Market. Reports from the Bookfair are good too.

[Those who volunteer; When your blog post is ready, e-mail to to About 500 words is best.  If you want a reminder, you can send an e-mail now to the same address as well as posting below and we’ll remind you in two weeks, but if you want to just keep track yourself, that’s fine too.  Please include a two or three sentence bio note when you submit.]

968941_538079672926156_136728789_aSo here is Friday.  We’ll post Saturday’s schedule soon:

Friday, February Twenty-eighth.

Nine a.m. to 10:15 a.m. (time corrected)

F115. Navigating Emptiness: Benefits and Drawbacks of Teaching the Lyric Essay.
(Kathleen Rooney, Brandon Schrand, Nicole Walker, Julie Paegle)
Room 604, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
In this panel, presenters will discuss their experience in teaching the lyric form. They will describe the challenge in teaching both introductory and advanced students how to reproduce the lyric essay’s delight in gaps, association, and the unknown. Panelists will provide practical advice and examples based on their experience, including model essays, course outlines, and approaches to this dynamic form.

F120. A “New” Nonfiction.
(Jamie Iredell, Chloe Caldwell, Anna March, Scott McClanahan)
Room 611, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
As writers and publishers adapt to the evolving media-driven culture of which they are a part, this panel features writers whose work spans the scope of contemporary nonfiction, from literary criticism to memoir, to immersive journalism and the op ed. They have found traditional print venues for placing their writing, as well as podcasts, webzines, websites, interactive maps, and ebooks, and will discuss how nonfiction has evolved to adapt to the many venues available for its practitioners.

Ten-thirty a.m. to Eleven-forty-five a.m.

F133. Getting Short-Form Nonfiction to Readers: A Publication Discussion.
(Sarah Einstein, Hattie Fletcher, Chelsea Biondolillo, Kelly Sundberg)
Aspen Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor.
Flash nonfiction is a growing genre. But where can you get it published? Join the managing editors of Brevity and Creative Nonfiction and two short-form nonfiction writers as they share trends, techniques, and strategies for finding markets for your short-form nonfiction, whether lyric, expository, or experimental.

F145. Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family.
(Joy Castro, Ralph Savarese, Sue William Silverman, Faith Adiele, Stephanie Elizondo Griest)
Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
Writing and publishing memoir about family members can be a vexed process, rife with concerns about privacy, fairness, and exploitation. The editor of the new collection Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family, together with four of its contributors, will discuss the challenges of writing about family members, share craft strategies, and offer ethical approaches for negotiating this difficult emotional and political terrain.

F158. When a Poem Can’t Tell the Whole Story: Why Poets are Taking up Nonfiction.
(Danielle Deulen, Katharine Coles, Gregory Orr, Julia Koets, Linwood Rumney)
Room 101, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 1.
As creative nonfiction becomes more popular and expands to push against the boundaries of convention, poets increasingly adopt it as a second genre. Five poets who also write nonfiction and who are at various stages in their careers discuss nonfiction from the poet’s perspective. How does working in two genres change the way we think about craft? How does writing in a second genre open up career opportunities in a difficult job market?

Twelve noon to One-fifteen p.m.

F167. Full Disclosure: How to Spill Your Guts without Making a Mess.
(Krista Bremer, Sy Safransky, Cary Tennis, Lidia Yuknavitch, Marion Winik) Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor.
In the era of social media and reality TV, it seems no topic is too private to be publicly shared, but what do we really learn about each from all this self-exposure? Are we telling everything while saying nothing? When an author writes about something deeply private, it should reveal our common humanity, not turn him or her into a side-show attraction. Our panel will discuss how to write about subjects such as addiction, forbidden lust, and grief in a way that serves a greater purpose.

F182. The Researcher in the Room: The Ethics of Immersion Writing.
(Ana Maria Spagna, Jo Scott-Coe, Joe Mackall, Amanda Webster)
Room 607, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
What are the rules when nonfiction writers immerse in cultures very different from our own? Panelists will discuss their experiences and address thorny questions. How do we frame our intentions with sources, literary audiences, and ourselves? How do we resolve conflicting versions of the truth? Do we ever leave out information to protect privacy or integrity? What consequences stem from our projects? What, in the end, do we owe the people we write about?

F189. River Teeth Anniversary Reading.
(Sarah M. Wells, Steven Harvey, Jill Noel Kandel, Jon Kerstetter, Andre Dubus III)
Room 618/619/620, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
This reading celebrates River Teeth’s fifteen years of publishing the best of creative nonfiction. Four of River Teeth’s nationally recognized writers will read from work originally published in River Teeth. These essays were reprinted in Best American Essays 2013Best Spiritual Writing 2012, and the Pushcart Prize XXXV.

F193. Brevity Reading.
(Jane Ciabattari, Meg Pokrass, Pamela Painter, Bobbie Ann Mason, Grant Faulkner)
Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2.
Brevity is big these days, attracting more and more writers and readers to a form once considered niche. Flash is the truffle of prose writing; small in word count, yet dense and satisfying. Online and print journals are embracing flash as technology advances and life’s pace quickens. Flash writing is often lyrical, much like prose poetry; laced with sensory detail. Five masters of the form read their flash fiction, essay, and memoir. Plenty of time will be left for questions and answers.

One-thirty p.m. to Two-forty-five p.m.

F233. Organizing the Truth: Building the Nonfiction Canon.
(Colin Rafferty, Patricia Foster, Judith Kitchen, Sheryl St. Germain, Jill Talbot)
Room 305, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3.
The introduction of creative nonfiction to the creative writing classroom has been followed by an exponential growth in the number of anthologies collecting the genre. For every essay chosen for an anthology, hundreds of others don’t make it through the gate. Four editors of nonfiction anthologies discuss the selection process, editorial goals, and whether they believe their projects best capture the genre’s breadth and depth—or if that’s even possible.

Three o’clock p.m. to Four-fifteen p.m.

F236. Like a Novel: Creative Nonfiction and the Question of Characters.
(Donovan Hohn, Jennifer Percy, Jeanne Marie Laskas, Jeff Sharlet) Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor.
In blurbs for creative nonfiction, one often sees a curious phrase: like a novel. And yet writers who make stories out of facts can never know the people they write about in the same way novelists know their characters. How, then, does one practice the art of nonfiction portraiture? And what are the challenges, implications, and risks—ethical, reportorial, aesthetic—of writing about real people using the characterizing techniques of fiction?

F248. A Memoir with a View: On Bringing the Outside In.
(Sue Silverman, Lee Martin, Sonya Huber, Joy Castro, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher)
Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
Some critics label memoirs mere navel gazing. However, the memoirists on this panel will show why it’s anything but. In memoir the “I” is a strong presence, guiding and shaping the narrative, but the broader perspective is that of someone gazing out a window rather than peering into a mirror. The “I” reflects an image in a windowpane as we superimpose ourselves upon the wider world. We will explore ways in which personal stories engage with social, cultural, and political realities.

F262. Weaving Stories from Strands of Truth: Native Writers on Nonfiction.
(Elissa Washuta, Debra Magpie Earling, Deborah Miranda, Ernestine Hayes)
Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2.
Many Native American writers are currently working within the genres of poetry and fiction; fewer writers work in nonfiction. This panel considers the complicated history of Native self-telling alongside contemporary memoir, essay, and forms in order to examine where nonfiction is situated among the recently published literary works by Native writers. The history of Euro-American influence on the oral storytelling tradition creates a distinct set of issues within Native nonfiction.

Four-thirty p.m. to Five-forty-five p.m.

F281. How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal.
(Joe Miller, Nicole Hardy, Ayesha Pande, Nicholas Boggs)
Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
Publishers pay for nonfiction books before they’re written. In fact, they often pay more than they do for finished novels. All you need is a good proposal. It sounds easy, but it’s not; a proposal is in many ways harder to write than a book itself. It’s an entire book, a sales pitch, an audition of writing talent and skills, all wrapped up in a mere handful of pages. In this panel discussion, four authors and an agent offer practical tips for tackling this immense challenge.

F284. Just the Facts: Effective Research Strategies in Creative Nonfiction.
(Gail Folkins, Toni Jensen, Kurt Caswell, Jill Patterson, Dennis Covington)
Room 607, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
Creative nonfiction demands not only a literary component but also a researched and factual one. Highlighting research gives voice to the processes nonfiction writers use in gathering information, from interviews and archives to the art of immersion. Topics such as integrating and attributing research shed additional light on this genre, focusing on best practices rather than lapses in accuracy and ethics.

F293. Place and Ethnicity in Literary Nonfiction.
(Allen Gee, Geeta Kothari, Ruben Martinez, Neela Vaswani, Mark O’Connor)
Room LL5, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level.
What occurs when ethnicity intersects with writing about varying locales? This diverse panel will discuss several of the issues that arise when writers contemplate and examine different spaces, such as rural borders, countries, the suburbs, or urban neighborhoods. We’ll speak to what extent protest can figure into one’s work, how we portray specific immigrant cultures and communities, and share observations we’ve made about assimilation and alienation in America.

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