List of Panels (1st and 2nd June)

 

Thursday, 1 June, 6.15-10pm

 

The Borders of the Dreamland: Andri Snær Magnason’s “Self-Help Manual” 10 years on

Chair: Lytton Smith
Larissa Kyzer, Mark Wunderlich, Meg Matich, Andri Snær Magnason (on video)
Háskólabíó

In 2006, Andri Snær Magnason’s Draumalandið - sjálfshjálparbók handa hræddri þjóð [Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation] offered a critique of the then-government’s environmental policies, such as their damming of rivers for energy production. This panel looks back at this hybrid-genre nonfiction book a decade later in order to re-examine the ways it deploys a range of styles, from documentary reportage to personal essay, from self-help manual to lyric essay. Featuring the author himself, our discussions will not only consider what happens when creative nonfiction meshes with political protest and eco-writing, but will also explore the ways a text’s borders, like a country’s, become porous; Dreamland itself became a film in 2009. We will also engage with the literary and cultural questions of translation, asking what this Icelandic “self-help manual” offers U.S. readers in an election year. 

Participant Bios

Lytton Smith has published two books of poetry from Nightboat Books, While You Were Approaching the Spectacle But Before You Were Transformed by It (2013), which Laura Mullen described as “a superb example of travel narrative,” and The All-Purpose Magical Tent (2009). He is an Assistant Professor of English/Creative Writing at SUNY Geneseo.

Larissa Kyzer is a writer and translator who moved to Iceland on a Fulbright in 2012. Her translations include works by Andri Snær Magnason, Auður Jónsdóttir, and Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir, as well as a collection of horror stories by Icelandic children. She will earn her MA in Translation Studies in 2017.

Mark Wunderlich is the author of three collections of poetry, the most recent of which is The Earth Avails, which was published by Graywolf Press in 2014, and which received the Rilke Prize.  His other collections include Voluntary Servitude (Graywolf Press, 2003) and The Anchorage (UMass Press, 1999) which received the Lambda Literary Award.  His poems, essays, interviews and translations have appeared in such journals as The New York Times Magazine, Paris Review, Boston Review and elsewhere, and his work is widely anthologized. 

Meg Matich is a Reykjavik-based poet and translator, and a current Fulbright grantee. Her translations have appeared in or are forthcoming from PEN America, Exchanges, Words Without Borders, Asymptote, Aarhus, Gulf Coast, and others. In 2015, she received the PEN Heim Translation Fund grant for her translation of Magnús Sigurðsson’s Cold Moons, which was published this year by Phoneme Media. 

One of Iceland’s most celebrated young writers, Andri Snær Magnason has published of poetry, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. His novel LoveStar was named “Novel of the Year” by the Icelandic booksellers association and was shortlisted for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award. The Story of the Blue Planet—published/performed in twenty-six countries—became the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic Literary Prize.


Friday, 2 June, 8.30-10am

 

A Satellite Looks On

Chair: Mimi Cabell
Liat Berdugo, Noam Dorr
Háskólatorg - 101 (60)

A drone operator walks out of a trailer in a desert and smokes a cigarette. A citizen videotapes a policeman and uploads it to YouTube. A satellite looks on. We live in a society that observes and records. We, writers and artists, observe and record. A recording can be violent, oppressive, and dangerous. And yet we do it—to strangers, to lovers, to ourselves. Recordings can also be tender, liberatory, and hilarious. A Satellite Looks On is a panel that explores the multiple and contradictory realities of surveillance, and offers an investigation into the myriad desires that lead to its use. We will look at the tensions of seeing and being seen and locating these opposing, but linked, experiences. We will also look at how writers and artists can find responsible ways to articulate these tensions through our unique subjectivities, making work informed by our learned and lived experiences. 

Participant Bios

Mimi Cabell trained in photography and the language arts; in her practice, she interrogates “the image” and the different ways it is created through visual and textual grammar. She has recently shown work in Gothenburg, Sweden, and published in Cabinet magazine. She lives in Providence, RI, where she is Assistant Professor of Design at RISD.

Liat Berdugo is an artist, writer, and curator whose work—which focuses on embodiment and digitality, archive theory, and new economies—interweaves video, writing, performance, and programming to form a considerate and critical lens on digital culture. She holds an MFA from RISD and a BA from Brown University. Berdugo is an assistant professor of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco.

Noam Dorr is a nonfiction writer and multimedia essayist. His work focuses on the intersection of geopolitics, desire, and the failure of language. He holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona and a BA from Brown University. Dorr is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah Creative Writing Program.

 
 

Whose Words Are These?: Writing and Oral History

Chair: S.L. Wisenberg
Dalrún Jóhannesdóttir
Háskólatorg – 102 (180)

For decades, oral history has been published as literature, often in the form of oral narratives and monologues; slave narratives and Studs Terkel’s Working are among the best-known examples. Oral histories continue to hold an allure for writers and readers—published as short form series in magazines (Vanity Fair’s “In Their Own Words”) or as nonfiction books (such as Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl). For those of us working with oral histories as source material, how do we reconcile the best practices of oral history with our authorial vision? How do we assert our authority as writers while honoring the ethos of oral history, which emphasizes interviewees’ ownership of the interviews and their right to shape their own story? The panelists will share the ways in which oral history figures into their writing, and how they deal with the specific ethical challenges that arrive when working with and from oral histories.  

Participant Bios

Dalrún Jóhannesdóttir is a history student at the University of Iceland who uses oral history as a means to study women’s history in Iceland. In her oral history studies Dalrún has focused on homeless women in the first half of the 20th century and women’s organizations today. She is currently working on her PhD study on non-farming women in 20th century rural life in Iceland.

S.L. Wisenberg writes about the intersection of the personal, political, and historical. She is the author of a chronicle, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch; an essay collection, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions; and a book of short stories, The Sweetheart Is In. Webbish site: SLwisenberg.blogspot.com

 

Landscape Writing – Dreamed Faces on Solid Seas

Chair: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Emily Lethbridge, Dani Redd, Sarah Thomas
Háskólatorg - 104 (100)

We’ll explore how the physical environment—and its representation in non-fictional texts—can inform and enrich fictional and nonfictional worlds. How does research both in and outside the library influence the paths and rivers that we and our characters walk? We’ll be particularly interested in the Icelandic landscape. There is a long history of writers and artists being inspired by Iceland; from William Morris to the creators of television fantasy worlds like Game of Thrones. The panelists will discuss how they found their angles into this particular landscape and the perils and pleasures of writing about spaces of great natural beauty. How does the observer affect her landscape by interacting with it? What are the differences between writing landscape in fiction and in non-fiction? What can they contribute to each other? What can they contribute to our understanding of environment and place?

Participant Bios

Emily Lethbridge has a PhD in Old Icelandic literature from the University of Cambridge. She has lived in Iceland from 2011, teaching and researching Icelandic manuscripts and saga landscapes. Her book 'Land of Rocks and Saga' will be published early 2017, and describes her travels around saga Iceland.

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is a Japanese-British-Chinese-American novelist. She has a BA from Columbia University, an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an Asian American Writers’ Workshop fellowship, and is a PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia. Her novel Harmless Like You was released in the UK this August.

Sarah Thomas is writing a memoir about the time she spent living in Iceland’s remote Westfjords, and how the landscape affected her experience. Her background is in anthropology (BA, Durham University) and ethnographic documentary film (MA, University of Manchester). She is a creative writing PhD candidate at Glasgow University.

Dani Redd is working on her first novel, set on a fictional island in the Arctic Circle. She is a creative and critical writing PhD candidate (CHASE funded) at the University of East Anglia. She is the winner of the 2014 Words and Women short fiction prize.

 

Writers Don’t Live in Caves: On the Inevitable—and Fruitful!—Relationship Between Media Studies and The Essay

Chair: alea adigweme
Lucas Mann, Nicolás Medina Mora, Amanda Gardiner
Lögberg - 101 (106)

Whether found in an investigative article, magazine profile, multimedia installation, or alt-weekly film review, media studies can provide scaffolding that grounds nonfiction not only in-textual analysis, but also in a broader cultural studies framework that scrutinizes (re)production, representation, political economy, and reception. The desire to “move” a reader is not solely the domain of those who write for art. Indeed, the best media scholarship, to borrow from the theorist James W. Carey, can “break modern monopolies of knowledge in communication and further restore the power of the foot and the tongue”—enabling greater civic engagement and freer speech. This panel brings together four writers whose works query topics ranging from medium specificity to misogynoirist internet pornography, women who committed infanticide in colonial Western Australia, and the reality show Vanderpump Rules—all in service of posing broader questions about identity, community, violence, and consumption in the Anthropocene.

Participant Bios

Lucas Mann is the author of Lord Fear: A Memoir and Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere. He earned his MFA from the University of Iowa and currently teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

alea adigweme is a writer, artist, and educator based in Iowa City. Her written work has been published by Bustle, Gawker, Fightland, and the Iowa Review blog, among other outlets. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa, where she’s a doctoral student in Media Studies.

Dr. Amanda Gardiner is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. Her research area is women who committed infanticide in colonial Western Australia (1829-1901). Her work has been published in Westerly, dotdotdash, Outskirts and M/C Journal and she was the 2014 winner of the Magdalena Prize for Research.

Nicolás Medina Mora is a former crime reporter and MFA candidate at the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. Born and raised in Mexico City, his interests include modern European intellectual history, 17th-century medicine, and the global war on drugs. He is at work on a lyric history of nostalgia.

 

Our Struggle: Views of the Female ‘Domestic’ in Nonfiction

Chair: Sonya Huber
Adriana Páramo, Amy Monticello, Elizabeth Hilts
Oddi-101 (120)

Karl Knausgaard’s important work My Struggle renews an ever-present question for female-identified writers: to what extent is our writing about the domestic sphere assumed to be either irrelevant to a wider readership or speaking only to other women? Panelists will explore how gender-related tensions within the world of literary nonfiction production, publishing, reviewing, and various reading communities interact with notions of which books are judged to be of universal relevance. Panelists will also specifically engage with Knausgaard’s work to reflect on ways in which it has informed their own thinking about writing accounts of the mind at work in the domestic sphere and the ways in which Knausgaard either plays with, overtly challenges, or reinforces gender expectations with regard to life-writing. 

Participant Bios

Adriana Páramo is a cultural anthropologist, writer and women’s rights advocate. She is the author of “Looking for Esperanza,” and “My Mother’s Funeral.” Her essays have been noted in The Best American Essays of 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2014 she was named as one of the top ten Latino authors in the USA. She is an adjunct professor in the low-residency MFA program at Fairfield University and an active member of the travel writing workshop of VONA—Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation—a community of writers of color.

Sonya Huber has written three books of creative nonfiction: Opa Nobody, Cover Me, and the forthcoming Pain Woman Takes Your Keys; a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers; and a book of analysis, The Evolution of Hillary Clinton.  She teaches at Fairfield University and directs Fairfield’s low-residency MFA Program.

 

 

The author of four internationally best-selling humor books for women, Elizabeth Hilts earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University, where she is Assistant Director of Corewriting. Hilts was called a radical feminist theorist by Rush Limbaugh, a title she proudly claims.

Amy Monticello is the author of the memoir-in-essays Close Quarters. Her work has been published in many literary journals, including Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, and The Rumpus. She is a regular contributor at Role/Reboot, and currently teaches at Suffolk University. She lives in Boston with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

 

‘Based on True Events’ - Icelandic and Scandinavian Literature and Threats of Defamation Suits

Chair: Jón Karl Helgason
Guðrún Baldvinsdóttir, Sólveig Ásta Sigurðardóttir, Einar Kári Jóhannsson
Háskólatorg - 103 (100)

The intersection of law and literature is an exciting, emerging field in Scandinavian scholarly discipline. The field has opened up new ways for scholars to look at law as a literary text as well as the portrayal of law in literature. This panel will focus on how this intersection relates to literature positioned on the borders of fact and fiction, such as autobiographical texts, autofiction or literature marketed as being  “based on true events”. To discuss these matters the panel focuses on public debates surrounding the publications of three recent books by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Hallgrímur Helgason and Steinar Bragi. The reception of literary texts by these authors has been largely focused on the aspect of facts in their fiction. Furthermore, while, the authors call their books “works of fiction”, they all refer to real life individuals and/or events in their texts or in interviews. Their statements are, in fact, a vital part in the marketing of the texts in question. The panelists are currently a part of a research group focusing on the connection between law and literature  - in particular regarding contemporary Scandinavian literature.

Participant Bios

Sólveig Ásta studied Comparative literature at the University of Iceland. In her dissertation she focused on immigrant representations in contemporary Icelandic literature. Currently she is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Rice University.

Guðrún Baldvinsdóttir is a master’s student in Comparative literature at the University of Iceland. In her studies she has focused mainly on 20th century literature, Icelandic literature and autobiographies. She is currently working on her thesis on Karl Ove Knausgård’s works.

Einar Kári has a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Political Science. He is now a master’s student in Comparative Literature at University of Iceland and is mainly focusing on 20th century literature.

 

Friday, 2 June, 10.15-11.30am

 

Microhistories: Writing Deeply about Narrow Subjects

Chair: Brian Thill
Kim Adrian, Anna Leahy, John Biguenet, Scott Lowe
Háskólatorg - 101 (60)

One of the more intriguing nonfiction forms to have developed in recent decades is the microhistory. Initially, this term referred to a special kind of academic historical research, but over time, it has come to describe more popular research-based writing that takes as its subject a single cultural expression, phenomenon, or thing. Well-known works of this type include The Story of Sushi by Trevor Corson and A History of the Wife by Marilyn Yalom. Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons is a series of short microhistories that explore the secret life of such ordinary, everyday objects as hair, golf balls, and bread. This panel of Object Lessons authors will share practical advice and personal insights into how to think about, research, and write engaging microhistorical nonfiction that has the potential to offer a surprisingly wide view of the world through what might seem, at first glance, a very small window.

Participant Bios

Kim Adrian is author of The 27th Letter of the Alphabet (a memoir) and editor of The Shell Game (an anthology of hybrid essays), both due out from the University of Nebraska Press in 2017. Her book Sock is part of Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series. She teaches at Brown University.

Brian Thill is the author of Waste (Bloomsbury). His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Jacobin, Salon, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. He is professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at Golden West College.

An O. Henry Award winner, John Biguenet has had six plays produced and ten books published, including Silence, The Torturer’s Apprentice and Oyster, with new work out recently in The Atlantic, Granta, The New Republic, The New York Times, and Tin House. More info at http://www.biguenet.com.

Anna Leahy is the author of Tumor (Bloomsbury) and Aperture (poetry, Shearman) and co-author of Generation Space: A Love Story (Stillhouse) and Conversing with Cancer (Peter Lang). Her essays won prizes from Dogwood and Ninth Letter. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at Chapman University. More at www.amleahy.com.

Scott Lowe worked as a park ranger and middle school science teacher before earning a Ph.D. in the History of Religions. He writes about religion in China, Asian religious movements in the West, and serves as co-general editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions.

 
 

Documenting Disaster and Its Aftermath: A Conversation about Creativity and Ethics

Chair: Beth Alvarado
Lisa M. O’Neill, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Arianne Zwartjes, Poupeh Missaghi
Háskólatorg - 102 (180)

The members of this panel are all working on projects where listening to stories was the first step in the research and writing process. Our work revolves around themes as diverse as the refugee crisis in Greece, the policing of Detroit, Michigan, water pollution in low-income neighborhoods in Tucson, Arizona, and the impact of recent floodings in Louisiana. But we have more questions than answers. How have others found the space to write creatively rather than polemically, while feeling the urgency of timing? How do you establish a tone that works, when you have a passionate view about why people should care? How do you negotiate telling someone else’s story, their suffering and experience, without presuming to speak for them? Where on the continuum between documentation and transformation does your work fall? During this panel, we are interested in creating an interactive and generative space for discussion. 

Participant Bios

An essayist and journalist, Lisa M. O’Neill has taught writing at the University of Arizona and in community workshops, including at Arizona detention centers. Her work has appeared in Diagram, defunct, Salon, and Good Housekeeping, among others. Her manuscript-in-progress considers sound and silence in relationship to gender, race, and mass incarceration.

Beth Alvarado is the author of two books, Anthropologies and Not a Matter of Love. Her essay, “Water in the Desert,” about her husband’s death and the pollution of artesian wells, was published in Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics. She teaches prose at OSU-Cascades low residency MFA program.

 

Arianne Zwartjes is a poet, essayist, wilderness medicine instructor, and author of Detailing Trauma: A Poetic Anatomy (U. Iowa Press). After years of teaching writing at the University of Arizona and UWC-USA, she spent last year in Europe and is working on a nonfiction manuscript about the Greek refugee crisis.

Aisha Sabatini Sloan is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White and the upcoming essay collection, Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, chosen by Maggie Nelson as the winner of the 1913 Open Prose Book Contest. She is a contributing editor for Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics and a staff writer at Autostraddle.

Poupeh Missaghi is a writer, educator, Persian < > English translator, and Iran’s Editor-at-Large for Asymptote. A Ph.D. graduate from University of Denver’s Creative Writing Program and holding an M.A. in Translation Studies, she has published nonfiction and fiction in Entropy, The Brooklyn Rail, Feminist Wire, World Literature Today, Guernica, Quarterly Conversation, Asymptote, and elsewhere. 

 
 

Kinetic Pages in the U.S. and in Iceland: A Discussion and Performance of International Multiform Nonfiction

Chair: Sarah Minor
Sarah Rose Nordgren, Amanda Gardiner, Amaris Ketcham, Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir (on video)
Háskólatorg - 104 (100)

From works like Alison Bechel’s Fun Home and Jenny Boully’s The Body to Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, the past two decades have seen a notable trend in multimedia forms emerging in American nonfiction. Modern Iceland is host to a literary climate where graphic and multimedia texts have been commonly written and published for decades. Today, the two countries are home to some of the most innovative experimental authors, with little exchange between their national readerships. During Kinetic Pages, four celebrated writers, artists, and publishers from both Iceland and America will discuss and compare the role of multimedia writing in their home cultures and will share nonfiction texts in many forms. Presenters will be invited to stretch out, to play, and to experiment with the conventions of a panel discussion by employing various media and performance strategies in both digital and physical forms.

Participant Bios

Sarah Rose Nordgren is the author of Best Bones (2014) and Darwin’s Mother (2017), from University of Pittsburg Press. Her essays and poems appear in Ploughshares and The Kenyon Review Online. She has held fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center and is a doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati.

Sarah Minor is a writer and designer from Iowa. She is a PhD candidate in Nonfiction at Ohio University in Athens where she teaches, makes essays and text installations, and runs the quarterly Visual Essayists series at Essay Daily.

 

Amaris Feland Ketcham is an honorary Kentucky Colonel and assistant professor at the University of New Mexico. She occupies her time with open space, white space, CMYK, flash nonfiction, long trails, f-stops, line breaks, and several Adobe Programs running simultaneously. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, and the Utne Reader.

Dr. Amanda Gardiner is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. Her research area is women who committed infanticide in colonial Western Australia (1829-1901). Her work has been published in Westerly, dotdotdash, Outskirts and M/C Journal and she was the 2014 winner of the Magdalena Prize for Research.

Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir’s novel Land of Love and Ruins won the EU Prize for Literature and the Icelandic Women’s Literature Prize. She has published four novels, several books of poetry and essays, and received degrees in political philosophy from the University of Iceland and The Sorbonne.

 
 

Journal Editor as Conductor: Synchronizing Tradition and Experimentation

Chair: Jacinda Woodhead
Sam Cooney, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, Björn Larsson
Lögberg - 101 (106)

A literary journal is not an essay clearing-house. Each piece published should have a specific purpose; each curated edition an overarching vision, and journals don’t have time to explore every idea or to cover every topic. On this panel, literary journal editors and publishers from Australia to Iceland discuss national and international perspectives on how a journal balances its strength and voice in the world with its desire for a clear perspective and a diversity of writers. (Theme and purpose makes a publication unique and necessary; diversity keeps a publication alive and relevant.)
 

In a world of hyperbolic debris and lightning-paced content, how do editors commission and publish with purpose work relevant to its specific underlying mission? How does a journal negotiate the pressures of the contemporary nonfiction environment—genre-blending, fact versus opinion, print versus online approaches to nonfiction, experimental projects and forms? What is the relationship of nonfiction to rest of the publication—the fiction and poetry, for example?

Participant Bios

Sam Cooney (Australia) runs publishing organization The Lifted Brow, which makes a quarterly literary magazine distributed internationally, maintains a dynamic website, produces events, awards writing prizes, and now publishes books. Away from The Lifted Brow he is a writer, editor, and teacher at universities.

Jacinda Woodhead (Australia) is editor of Overland, a literary journal of progressive politics and culture founded in 1954; today, Overland produces a print quarterly, a daily online magazine, digital editions experimenting with form, an events program and several literary awards. Jacinda’s PhD examined abortion politics and narrative nonfiction as political intervention.

Björn Larsson (Sweden) is editor of Hjärnstorm, a Swedish journal of art, literature, philosophy and contemporary debate founded in 1978. Hjärnstorm produces a quarterly printed magazine distributed internationally, maintains a dynamic website, produces events and runs a publishing house. Björn Larsson is an artist, author and writer.

Guðmundur Andri Thorsson (Iceland) is the is the editor of the Icelandic literary journal Tímarit Máls og menningar, founded in 1938. He is also an acclaimed critic, journalist and writer.

 

Fact-Checkers: A Love Story

Chair: Joshua Wolf Shenk                  
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc                  
Oddi-101 (120)

We expect that the conference will have ample (and necessary) representation of memoir, the lyrical essay, and other forms of creative non-fiction. This panel will speak to the “literature of fact” tradition. But rather than focus on “getting the story” or “access” or other tropes of this tradition, this panel will surprise by looking at the value of fact on the sentence level, and its surprising influence on rhythm and lyricism.

Participant Bios

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is the author of Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and other publications. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, her other awards and honors include the Lettre Ulysses Award and the Borders Original Voices Award for Nonfiction. She is currently completing a nonfiction book about standup comedy for Random House.

Joshua Wolf Shenk is an essayist and the executive director and writer-in-residence of The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute. His books include Powers of Two: How Relationships Drive Creativity and Lincoln’s Melancholy, a 2005 New York Times Notable Book. He’s written cover stories for The Atlantic and Harper's, and his work has been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, The Nation, and Riverteeth.

 

Creating Precariously: Writing While Working Class

Chair: Sailor Holladay
Ariel Gore, Cooper Lee Bombardier, Denise Benavides, Raquel Gutiérrez
Háskólatorg - 103 (100)

How do we represent ourselves and other working class characters on the page? How do we pay our bills and make the time to write? How did the promise of getting an education save us and/or backfire because of lack of connections and the amassing of student loan debt? Does adjuncting kill all creativity? How do we de-assimilate our voices and write toward working class readers? Who are we when we refuse to be unnamed or tokenized? This panel of working class writers with day jobs will share their experiences getting to the page, getting on the page, and how practicing creative nonfiction has saved their lives.

Participant Bios

Ariel Gore is founding editor of Hip Mama, executive director of Lit Star Press, and author of eight books including Atlas of the Human Heart and The End of Eve. She has won a Lambda Literary Award, an American Alternative Press Award, a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, a Rainbow Award.

Sailor Holladay is a writer, textile artist, and teacher living in Oregon. Sailor has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Mills College and $114,000 in student loan debt. Sailor’s writing and art explore the intersections of queerness, poverty, inter-generational trauma, and capitalism. Find out more at: www.sailorholladay.com
 

Denise Benavides is an Oakland based Queer Xicana Poet/Bruja and Performer Artist. Bred from a single immigrant mother, Denise shares her work with urgency using the stage/page to confront themes of xenophobia, relocation, sexuality, religion, and love. Always, love. Her book, Riot Girl is forthcoming by Kórima Press.

Cooper Lee Bombardier is a writer and visual artist based in Portland, Oregon. His writing was recently published in The Kenyon Review, MATRIX, CutBank, Nailed Magazine, and Original Plumbing. His visual art was recently curated in an exhibition called “Intersectionality” at MOCA North Miami. Learn more at: www.cooperleebombardier.com

Raquel Gutiérrez has long been a writer and live performer. She is a film actor, curator, publisher (Econo Textual Objects, established 2014), playwright, arts administrator, and community organizer. She writes about art, culture, music, film, performance and community building and creates original solo and ensemble performance compositions.

 

Friday, 2 June, 12:30-1.45pm

 

Reframing the Family in Memoir

Chair: Theresa Kulbaga
Daisy Hernández, Sonya Huber, Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir
Háskólatorg - 101 (60)

This panel brings together two memoirists (Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water Under My Bed, and Sonya Huber, Cover Me) and two literary scholars (Theresa Kulbaga and Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir) in a conversation about how contemporary memoirs challenge mainstream narratives about family. We ask how and why writers choose to prioritize family relationships that often fall out of the mainstream critical frame—siblings, aunties, adoptees, queer and chosen families. We also consider how scholars might refocus attention on family members that provide alternatives to the parent-child paradigm of understanding identity. Finally, we consider how reframing the family can also reframe discourses of class, race, gender, and sexuality. We envision this panel as a conversation among writers and scholars rather than a series of individual papers. With that goal in mind, we will keep our comments under ten minutes a piece, then let the conversation develop organically with each other and the audience.

Participant Bios

Daisy Hernández is the author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism and assistant professor at Miami University. She has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, NPR's All Things Considered, and many others.

Theresa A. Kulbaga is associate professor of English and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Miami University. Her essays on American women’s autobiography and transnational feminism appear in Women & Language, Prose Studies, JAC, and College English, among others. She directs the WordUP teen writing program at WordPlay Cincy (wordplaycincy.org).
 

Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir is Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of the Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland. Her research interests include life writing; memory studies; photography; and contemporary literature on trauma and societal upheaval. She has published widely on these themes i.e. in her book Borderlines: Autobiography and Fiction in Postmodern and Life Writing (Rodopi 2003) and in her latest book Representations of Forgetting in Life Writing and Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan 2016).

Sonya Huber has written three books of creative nonfiction: Opa Nobody, Cover Me, and the forthcoming Pain Woman Takes Your Keys; a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers; and a book of analysis, The Evolution of Hillary Clinton.  She teaches at Fairfield University and directs Fairfield’s low-residency MFA Program.

 

 

My Roland Barthes

Chair: Xenia Hanusiak
Wayne Koestenbaum, Rachel May
Háskólatorg - 102 (180)

In Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes, Barthes quietly confesses his obsession “I have a disease; I see language.” As a semiotic analyst, structural theorist, critic and philosopher Barthes believed that language ‘teaches the definition of man, not the contrary.’ (The Rustle of Language). Barthes’ pluralistic, restless and passionate dedication to the text reminds us that language is always at work in our apprehension of the world. His writing incites us, goads us to reconsider our position as author and demands us to call our text and our language to question. In this homage to Barthes, three writers demonstrate the continuing influence of Barthes in their work prompting discussions on sensuality and the sensorial, the tissue of the text, the illusion of subjectivity over objectivity, reclaiming the intimate, and temporality. If Barthes was on our panel today he would ask us to stop taking things for granted.

Participant Bios

Xenia Hanusiak is a New York based Australian cultural journalist, essayist, non-fiction writer, poet, and writer for stage. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and a Masters in Music. In 2017-18 she is a Global Cultural Fellow for the University of Edinburgh. Presently she is published in Music and Literature, La Scena Musicale, The Log Journal (National Sawdust), New York Times, Boston Globe, South China Post, and literary journals.

Wayne Koestenbaum is the author of Humiliation; Hotel Theory; the novel Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes; Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics; and National Book Critics Circle Award–nominated The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (1993) as well as several collections of poetry.

Rachel May is the author of the creative nonfiction/history book Stitches in Time (forthcoming, Pegasus 2017), Quilting with a Modern Slant, a Library Journal & Amazon.com Best Book of 2014, and two books of fiction: The Experiments: A Legend in Pictures & Words, and The Benedictines. Her work has been recently published or is forthcoming in 1913: A Journal of Forms, The Volta, New Delta Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, LARB, Cream City Review, Indiana Review, Word for/Word, The Literary Review, Zone 3 online, and other journals.

 
 

Standing Apart, Being Involved: Writing the Foreign and Unfamiliar

Chair: Natalie Bakopoulos
Jeremiah Chamberlin, Joanna Eleftheriou, Philip Graham, V.V. Ganeshananthan
Háskólatorg - 104 (100)

Our panelists will discuss the intricacies of writing about foreign places, including privilege, bias, codes of ethics, and blurred boundaries. Panelists will explore writing about place and current events, as well as their personal experiences of said places and events, in ways that are respectful and avoid cliché. How do writers allow themselves to be both critical and compassionate, analytical and artistic—whether writing about home or about a place that is not one’s own? How might outsiders’ perspectives contribute to the literary composition and creation of place? How can writers avoid clichés and stereotypes? Who has a right to speak for whom, and how do we negotiate the blurring boundaries between essayist, journalist, anthropologist, and scholar? Panelists will also explore, in an age where popular travel writing often becomes a search for the self, how to avoid the danger of places and people becoming mere backdrops.

Participant Bios

Jeremiah Chamberlin teaches at the University of Michigan. He is a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, the Editor-in-Chief of Fiction Writers Review, and co-author of Creative Composition. His work has appeared in Granta, VQR, Vagabond, Absinthe, and elsewhere. He is a 2016-17 Fulbright Scholar in Bulgaria.

Natalie Bakopoulos is the author of The Green Shore and co-author of Creative Composition, and her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Tin House, VQR, and Granta. She was a 2015 Fulbright Scholar in Athens and received her MFA from the University of Michigan.
 

Philip Graham is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, including the travel memoirs Parallel Worlds, Braided Worlds, and The Moon, Come to Earth. He is a Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the Editor-at-Large for Ninth Letter. 

Joanna Eleftheriou is assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Her essays, poems, and translations have appeared in journals including The Crab Orchard Review, Arts and Letters, and The Common, and her current project is the book of linked essays This Way Back: Essays From Cyprus.

V.V. Ganeshananthan’s debut novel, Love Marriage, was longlisted for the Orange Prize, chosen one of Washington Post Book World’s Best of 2008, and named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Radcliffe Institute, she has published work in The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others. She has been visiting faculty at the University of Michigan and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and presently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Minnesota. 

 
 

The Nonfiction-in-Translation Crisis – And What We Can Do About It

Chair: Aviya Kushner
Benjamin Balint, Shelley Frisch, Minna Zallman Proctor
Lögberg - 101 (106)

Ferrante Fever makes it seem like international literature is hot—but unfortunately, that wild popularity has not extended to literary nonfiction. In fact, the 2015 PEN Translation Prize attracted the most entries in PEN America’s history, but less than 10% were nonfiction titles. Why is it so hard to get international nonfiction published, and when it is published, how can it attract the attention it deserves? This panel of translators, critics, and professors of both nonfiction and translation—with special interest in literature from Germany, Italy, and Israel—will discuss the challenging nonfiction-in-translation landscape as well as what the nonfiction community can do to increase the visibility of nonfiction translations. Topics will include: the role of acquisition editors who may not read foreign languages, the book-review scene, getting the word out about a nonfiction book in translation, and the necessity of partnership between the nonfiction community and the translation community.

Participant Bios

Benjamin Balint, a writer and translator living in Jerusalem, regularly reviews nonfiction in translation for the Wall Street Journal, Haaretz, and the Claremont Review of Books. He is the author of Running Commentary (PublicAffairs), Jerusalem: City of the Book (with Merav Mack, forthcoming, Yale), and Kafka’s Last Trial (forthcoming, Norton).

Aviya Kushner is the author of The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible. A Howard Fellow in nonfiction, she writes The World of Words column at The Forward. She is an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, teaching nonfiction writing and translation.
 

Minna Zallman Proctor is the author of Landslide, a collection of intertwined true stories. Her translations include a correspondence of Umberto Eco and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and Fleur Jaeggy’s imaginary biographies, These Possible Lives. She is Editor of The Literary Review and teaches creative nonfiction at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Shelley Frisch’s translations from the German include Karin Wieland’s Dietrich & Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives (Liveright/Norton), a finalist for the NBCC awards, and Reiner Stach’s 3-volume Kafka biography (Princeton), awarded the MLA Scaglione Translation Prize, the Wolff Translator’s Prize, and longlisted for PEN’s Translation Award.

 

Stories from the Margins

Chair: Tresa LeClerc
Alissa Coons, Madhu H. Kaza, Jenny Browne, Katrina Gulbrandsen
Oddi-101 (120)

What does it mean to write between lived experience and creative non/fiction for those who are not from the same background as their subjects/characters? Jenny Browne is a poet and essayist from San Antonio, Texas where she teaches at Trinity University and works with Borderland Collective on long-term collaborative art and education projects. Alissa Coons’ nonfiction novel-in-progress explores the emotional terrain of Cold War-era migration among Hungarian migrants to Australia. Katrina Gulbrandsen’s book tea & thread: portraits of Arab women far from home presents stories, photos, recipes and handwork from displaced women from the Middle East. Madhu Kaza reflects on her work in Burma/Myanmar during its transition from military dictatorship to democracy and her attempts to write about the persecution of the Rohingya community. Tresa LeClerc’s novel, All the Time Lost, weaves interviews with people from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne, Australia into a fictional narrative. Together they interrogate what it is to write using the stories of others, reflecting upon ethical considerations such as translation and appropriation.

Participant Bios

Alissa Coons is a PhD candidate in Creative Practice at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her research and creative writing are concerned with transforming subjectivities—both in the process of adapting migrant oral histories to literature, and in examining the disruptions inherent in narratives of migration.

Tresa LeClerc is a postgraduate student in Media and Communication at RMIT University, Australia. She is working on a novel entitled All the Time Lost. Her short story ‘American Riviera,’ was published as part of the book 9 Slices and her academic writing has appeared in Writing in Practice Journal of Creative Writing Research.

Jenny Browne is a poet and essayist from San Antonio, Texas where she teaches at Trinity University and works with Borderland Collective on long-term collaborative art and education projects.  Her most recent book is the Welcome to Freetown, a hybrid chapbook based on experiences living and working in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Born in India, Madhu Kaza is a writer, translator, and educator based in New York. Her non-fiction has appeared in Chimurenga, Feminist Spaces, The Scofield Magazine and more. Her translations from Telugu include a book of short stories by the feminist writer, Volga. As an editor at Aster(ix), she is editing Kitchen Table Translation: Migration, Diaspora, Exchange (Spring 2017) and co-edited What We Love (Fall 2016). She is at work on her first novel, Afterlife.

Katrina Flett Gulbrandsen is originally from NSW, Australia. She recently spent two years living in Jordan with her family, studying Arabic and working as a Program Development Officer for World Relief Germany-Jordan. Katrina lives in Norway, where she is interested in using the arts as a means for social integration.

 
 

Nonfiction and Obsession

Chair: Salvatore Pane
Margaret Lazarus Dean, Cathy Day, Matthew Batt, Aubrey Hirsch
Háskólatorg - 103 (100)

One of the oldest writing chestnuts is to “write what you know,” but what does that mean when what you know is obsession? What are the dangers and what are the benefits of incorporating obsession into your essays or manuscripts? Five different writers from diverse backgrounds with very different obsessions will chart the ups and downs they experienced writing through their obsessions and will guide you toward writing about your own.

Participant Bios

Margaret Lazarus Dean is the author of The Time It Takes to Fall. She is a recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Tennessee Arts Commission and is an associate professor of English at the University of Tennessee. She lives in Knoxville.

Salvatore Pane is the author of the novel Last Call in the City of Bridges and the nonfiction hybrid Mega Man 3. His work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Hobart, and New South among other venues. He is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas.

Matthew Batt is the author of the memoir Sugarhouse. He received his PhD from the University of Utah and his MFA from Ohio State. He teaches creative writing at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, where he lives with his wife and son.

Cathy Day is the author of two books: The Circus in Winter and Comeback Season. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Lit Hub, PANK, The Millions, and Inside Higher Education. She teaches at Ball State University where she currently serves as the Assistant Chair of English.

Aubrey Hirsch is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of Why We Never Talk About Sugar and her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Third Coast, Hobart, The Rumpus and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Oberlin.

 

Friday, 2 June, 2-3.15pm

 

Translating your Way into the Lyric Essay

Chair: Marcela Sulak
Jennifer Kronovet, Joanna Chen, Pierre Joris, Lawrence Lacambra Ypil
Háskólatorg - 101 (60)

Treating the lyric essay as an act of perception that is aware of itself as an act of perception, these panelists discuss how the act of literary translation and the daily practice of living in a learned language and culture enrich the lyric essay. The panelists discuss how particular techniques used in essay, such as juxtaposition, fragmentation, and the jump cut, express the translator’s feat of traversing cultures, formal constraints, and political realms to bridge seemingly impossible distances. Translating Chinese, Czech, Hebrew, and other languages into English, while simultaneously grappling with individual agency in totalitarian societies, fairy tales, religious conversion, and the geography of occupation narratives, we pay special attention to our mistakes, misunderstandings, and mistranslations. For if, as Leonard Cohen says, “there is a crack…in everything. That’s how the light gets in,” then the lyric essay as we describe it embodies both the crack and the light.

Participant Bios

Jennifer Kronovet is the author of THE WUG TEST (Ecco Press), selected for the National Poetry Series, and AWAYWARD. She co-translated THE ACROBAT, the selected poems of Yiddish writer Celia Dropkin. Under the name Jennifer Stern, she co-translated EMPTY CHAIRS, poetry by the Chinese writer Liu Xia.

Marcela Sulak has translated four collections of poetry and folktales from Czech, French (Democratic Republic of the Congo), and Hebrew, co-edited Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres, published two collections of poetry, several essays. She directs the Graduate Program of Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University.

Pierre Joris has published some 50 books of poems, essays & translations. Just out are Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press and The University of California Book of North African Literature (volume 4 in the Poems for the Millennium series), coedited with Habib Tengour. He lives in Sorrentinostan, a.k.a. Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with his wife, multimedia performance artist and writer Nicole Peyrafitte.

British-born Joanna Chen is a former Newsweek correspondent for the Middle East Desk; her literary essays appear in Guernica, Asymptote, and Narratively,  among others. She writes a column for The Los Angeles Review of Books. Her translations include poet Agi Mishol’s Less Like a Dove, (Shearsman) and two forthcoming novels.

Lawrence Lacambra Ypil is a poet and essayist from Cebu, Philippines. He received an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Washington University on a Fulbright Scholarship, and has an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa. His first book of poems, The Highest Hiding Place was given the Madrigal Gonzalez Best First Book Award.

 
 

Life Writing at the Far Reaches of Creative Nonfiction

Chair: Ira Livingston
Alexandra Chasin, Tisa Bryant, Margo Jefferson, Elizabeth Kendall
Háskólatorg - 102 (180)

Departing from life-writing norms, these writers investigate still-marginal alternatives to representations of self and other. What frictions arise when somatic experience, nonlinearity, anti-realism, language play, historical revisionism, speculation, cultural criticism, critical theory, and explicit political commitments rub against the grain of familiar conventions in biography, memoir, and essay?

Participant Bios

Alexandra Chasin is author of Assassin of Youth:  A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger’s War on Drugs.  Previous books include fiction and nonfiction – and now this genrefuck. She directs Writing On It All, a public participatory writing project, and is Associate Professor of Literary Studies at Lang College, The New School.

Ira Livingston is the author of several books in cultural theory and poetics, most recently the interactive e-book, Poetics as a Theory of Everything (2015).  He is professor of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute of Art and Design in Brooklyn, New York.
 

Margo Jefferson is a cultural critic and the author of Negroland: A Memoir and On Michael Jackson. Negroland received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.  In 1995, while a staff critic for The New York Times, she received a Pulitzer Prize.  She teaches writing at Columbia University.

Tisa Bryant is the author of Unexplained Presence, a collection of hybrid essays on black presences in film, literature and visual arts.  Her writing lives where genre, form, archival research, memory, race and subjectivity intersect.  She teaches at the California Institute of the Arts and lives in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Kendall is a dance and culture critic, an Associate Professor at New School‘s Eugene Lang College and the author of 3 cultural histories and 2 memoirs.  Her most recent book, published by Oxford U. Press in 2013 (paperback 2015), is Balanchine and the Lost Muse:  Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer.

 
 

Letters for Iceland

Chair: Selina Guinness
Rosita Boland, Prof. Colin Graham
Háskólatorg - 104 (100)

 “Islands are places apart where Europe is absent.” – Journey to Iceland

In 1937, W.H. Auden (b. York) and Louis MacNeice (b. Belfast), published their co-authored Letters from Iceland, “the most unorthodox travel book ever written” (Daily Mail). Less an account of their actual journey undertaken the previous year, than a mock-heroic model of collaborative practice, Auden describes Letters from Iceland as a “collage”—“a form that’s large enough to swim in.” Playful in spirit and parodic in intention, these verse epistles, absurd tourist notes and personal correspondence combine to produce a non-fictional text that refracts the poets’ anxieties about the imminent collapse of Europe. In a foreword to the 1965 edition, W.H. Auden explained: “though writing in a ‘holiday’ spirit, its authors were all the time conscious of a threatening horizon to their picnic—world-wide unemployment, Hitler growing every day more powerful and a world-war more inevitable.” This panel seeks to remodel, and reflect on, the conditions of this collaboration.

Participant Bios

Rosita Boland is a staff features writer at The Irish Times. She has written five books; two of poetry and three non-fiction. She was a 2009 Nieman Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. She is working on a memoir, based on 30 years of travel.

Selina Guinness is a writer & lecturer in English. She was writer-in-residence with DLR County Council (2015 - 2016). Editor of The New Irish Poets, & co-editor of The Resurrection manuscripts for the Cornell Yeats; her memoir, The Crocodile by the Door, (Penguin 2012) was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, & the BGE Irish Book Awards.

Colin Graham is the author of Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography; Deconstructing Ireland and Ideologies of Epic. He is an editor of The Irish Review. His essays, memoir and fiction have appeared in The Dublin Review, The Edinburgh Review and Joyland. He is Professor of English at Maynooth University, Ireland.

 
 

Multivocal Memory: Nonfiction Collaborations

Chair: Lidia Yuknavitch
Kimberly Dark, Éireann Lorsung, Raluca Albu, Rayhane Sanders
Lögberg - 101 (106)

Nonfiction writing is often understood as representing voice at its heart. But what happens when voice is subjected to memory, and begins to fracture like memory? What happens when more than one subjectivity or voice is allowed to speak their memory? What if voice and subjectivity were understood to be collaborative, layered, carrying more than one eye / I as well as memory moment(s)? The panelists are creating multivocal memory texts by collaborating in two different ways. First, two panelists have co-written an essay based on a shared event, in order to collage meanings using memories of that event and of relevant events related by individual interpretation. One panel member is discussing a co-laboring practice in which two graphic memoirs are being created, prompted by the weekly questions and discussions of the participants. This session aims to be both discursive and interactive, exploring the questions posed here along with the boundaries and tensions of memory-based non-fiction.

Participant Bios

Kimberly Dark’s essays and poetry focus on how we make meaning of the body and emotions in culture. Her storytelling performances have been invited to more than 100 universities, festivals and conferences.  She teaches in the graduate program in Sociological Practice at Cal State San Marcos. Learn more at www.kimberlydark.com.

Lidia Yuknavitch’s novel The Small Backs of Children won the Oregon Book Award and the Reader’s Choice Award, as well as the Bi Writer’s Association Best Bisexual Novel. Her anti-memoir The Chronology of Water won the Reader’s choice Oregon Book Award and a PNBA. Her novel The Book of Joan is forthcoming from Harper Books, Spring 2017.

Raluca Albu is a Romanian American writer and translator. She is a senior nonfiction editor for Guernica magazine and the online literature editor for BOMB. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Village Voice, The Rumpus, Words without Borders, and elsewhere.

Éireann Lorsung is the author of Music For Landing Planes By (Milkweed 2007), Her Book (Milkweed 2013), and a third collection forthcoming in 2018 from Milkweed. She runs MIEL, a micropress (miel-books.com), and is residency director at Dickinson House (dickinsonhouse.be), and is working on a novel about archives and earthquakes.

Rayhané Sanders is a literary agent and developmental book editor. She has held positions at Newsweek Magazine, Penguin Group, and William Morris Endeavor. She is based in New York and Los Angeles; and represents bestselling, award-winning authors of fiction and nonfiction at Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.

 
 

Nonfiction Comics: The Next Frontier

Chair: Kevin Haworth
Dr. Ariel Kahn, Morsal Mohammad, Houman Sadri, Maggie Messitt
Oddi – 101

Comics and graphic narratives contain some of the most innovative and current work in nonfiction, with prominent memoirs like Fun Home and Persepolis, and nonfiction craft books like Jessica Abel’s Out on the Wire. Nonfiction in comics is a diverse, international space well worth exploring more deeply. Writer-scholars Ariel Kahn, Houman Sadri, Maggie Messitt, and Kevin Haworth will show how international comics explore ideas in nonfiction, with examples drawn from comics journalism, feminist travel comics, and nonfiction comics that use the fictional trope of the “Hero’s Journey.” Comics artist Morsal Mohammed will show how her own photographic travel comic about her return to Afghanistan (published in National Geographic) pushes the boundaries of the nonfiction form.

Participant Bios

Dr. Ariel Kahn is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Roehampton University, where he teaches comics and graphic novels at BA and MA level. Recent publications include contributions to two Eisner-Award winning publications; Graphic Details (McFarlands 2014) and Drawn and Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning (2015).

Kevin Haworth is a 2016 NEA fellow in Creative Writing. His most recent book is Famous Drownings in Literary History, and is co-editor, with Dinty W. Moore, of Lit From Within: Contemporary Masters on the Art and Craft of Writing. He previously taught at Ohio University and Tel Aviv University, and now directs the low-residency MFA program at Carlow University in Pittsburgh. His current manuscript is a critical biography of Israeli comics artist Rutu Modan.

Morsal Mohammad is a graduate in English Literature and Creative Writing from Roehampton University, where she took up comics and graphic novels. She has written and illustrated works that have been recognized by the National Geographic and the Bradford Literature Festival, where she became a panelist.

Houman Sadri is a doctoral student and teacher at the University of Gothenburg. His research involves a multi-disciplinary investigation into the implications of modern texts and critical approaches for the Monomyth. He teaches Literature and English-Speaking Cultures at BA-level and Speculative Fiction and The Medium of Comics at Masters level.

Maggie Messitt is author of The Rainy Season, longlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award in South Africa, where she was a journalist and editor for 8 years. Her reportage and essays have been published by Creative Nonfiction, Mother Jones, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among others.

 
 

The Enhanced Memoir: When ‘It Happened to Me’ Isn’t Enough

Chair: Sarah Hepola
Kim Brooks, Emily Rapp Black, Deanna Fei
Háskólatorg - 103 (100)

This panel will look at the rise of the enhanced or hybrid memoir, the nonfiction writer who merges a personal narrative with social commentary, cultural criticism, reportage, or elements of fiction and invention. As more and more writers arrive at the memoir after working in other literary forms, the genre has become less defined by traditional, long-form narrative, and more marked by the writer’s willingness to experiment, to improvise, and to borrow from the novelist’s, essayist’s, or journalist’s toolbox. Four memoirists discuss their discovery of the form, its unique challenges, and the opportunities for innovation offered by its shifting boundaries.

Participant Bios

Kim Brooks is the author of the novel The Houseguest (Counterpoint Press), and the forth-coming Small Animals: A Memoir of Parenthood and Fear (Flatiron/Macmillan 2018). Her essays appear in New York Magazine, Salon, Buzzfeed, and WNYC’s Note to Self. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she teaches at Sackett Street Writers and lives in Chicago.

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget" (Grand Central, 2016). Her work has been published in the NYT magazine, The Guardian, Elle, Texas Monthly, and Salon, where she ran the personal essays section for many years.
 

Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir (Bloomsbury USA) and The Still Point of the Turning World (Penguin Press), which was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has appeared in VOGUE, the New York Times, The Times (UK), Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, TIME, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and many other publications. She is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and English at the University of California-Riverside.

Deanna Fei is the award-winning author of the memoir GIRL IN GLASS and the novel A THREAD OF SKY. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, TIME, Fortune, and Slate. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently lives in London.