One Story Issue #259: Aamina Ahmad’s “The Red One Who Rocks”

Our new issue was discovered by our very own Lena Valencia, and I had the pleasure of co-editing it with her. Here’s Lena to introduce the story to you! — PR

One of the disorienting things about grief is that though your own world may feel shattered, the outside world doesn’t grieve with you. This is something Aamina Ahmad set out to capture in our newest issue, “The Red One Who Rocks.”

In it, Humair, a widower, accompanies his mother-in-law on a pilgrimage to the Urs in Sehwan, Pakistan, a commemoration of the Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s death and union with the divine. To complicate things, Humair is in some ways responsible for his wife’s death. As the festivities unfurl around them, Humair reckons with grief, guilt, and a strange young beggar woman who seems to be following him and his mother-in-law.

Ahmad’s story is one that I’ll always remember reading for the first time. I found it in a stack of submissions on a slow July afternoon and was instantly transported into the thick atmosphere of the train to Sehwan, the hectic celebration of the Urs. It’s a story that wrestles with complex ideas about grief and spirituality, about guilt and recompense. One Story is thrilled to bring you “The Red One Who Rocks.”

To read an interview with author, please visit our website.

One Story Summer Writers Conference 2019 Recap

Last week, we hosted twenty writers at The Old American Can Factory for a week of workshops with instructors Lisa Ko or Will Allison, craft lectures, readings, and panels. Our intrepid interns—Evy Constant, Carly Frederickson, Jacob Maren, and Andrea K. Oh—spent the week documenting the events. Here are their recaps!

Day 1: Welcome

As temperatures climbed into the triple digits outside, we welcomed twenty writers into our home at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn to kick off the 2019 One Story Summer Writers Conference. Students were introduced to the entire team and got to know each other during an hour filled with cocktails and conversations with fellow writers. The classes only last a week at One Story, but many came to realize that the friendships made this week can last a lifetime. —Jacob

Day 2: It’s About Time!

During the first craft lecture of this year’s Summer Writers Conference, One Story’s editor-in-chief Patrick Ryan discussed the importance of economy and time management in writing. Ryan explained that, although writers often attempt to illuminate their character’s experiences by extending scenes and trailing their actions very closely, this can sometimes lead to stagnation in the story’s action—the dreaded “boredom” all writers fear their readers feeling.

Rather than attempting to control everything in every moment of a story, Ryan pointed out that writers must avoid over-choreographing: you must determine what your story is really about, then use that knowledge to figure out which scenes should take up time and which you should compress. Essentially, Ryan explained that “it’s about keeping the reader’s attention where you want the reader’s attention to be.”

Ryan emphasized that this is something all writers do; we all tend to expand scenes unnecessarily because “nobody’s got it figured out. It’s not about trying to be an expert when you’re writing.” Instead of trying to get it perfect the first time, writers should work to incorporate narrative compression into their revision processes. To this point, Ryan shared that his ideal reader—and perhaps to some extent, all of our ideal readers—should be one who suffers from extreme impatience; one who urges us to “spit it out. Get to it!”—Evy 

Day 3: How Does She Do That?

How does she do that? This the question Myla Goldberg posed at the start of yesterday’s craft lecture, a discussion of Lauren Groff’s short story, “L. DeBard and Aliette” from her short story collection Delicate Edible Birds.

During this craft talk, Myla went into a deep analysis of the short story and covered a lot of ground, discussing everything from time to suspense to POV to character building to sex. One of the overarching lessons that Myla presented was how Lauren Groff builds worlds through different perspectives. Groff’s ability to alternate point of views seamlessly, going from a God’s eye view to different close character perspectives, draws us into the world of the story.

In a short Q&A following the talk, Myla addressed the crowd’s questions about her own personal experiences in the literary world. She ended with this piece of advice: “Take ten minutes a day to read over what you’ve been working on.” Our lives might be too busy for us to write every day, but we always have time to interact with and think about our writing despite all the distractions inhabiting the space around us.—Jacob

Day 4: The Vampiric Research Method

During the third craft lecture of this year’s Summer Writers Conference, One Story co-founder Hannah Tinti provided listeners with an abundance of practical tips for getting one’s work out of the slush pile. Her talk guided conference participants through various aspects of the publishing process, such as how to prepare your work for submission, how to decide which magazines or agents to send your work to, and how to handle rejections and acceptances.

She stressed the importance of submitting a manuscript that conforms to industry standards (double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman font) and went over how to write a professional, informative cover letter. She also introduced conference attendees to a variety of anthologies such as Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories, all of which can be used as tools for becoming acquainted with different literary magazines and discovering which ones best fit your work. Tinti shared her method of creating different tiers of magazines to send work to as well, making sure you have a variety of different options.

Tinti reminded us that along with submissions often come rejections, but also that many extremely successful books faced a large number of rejections before they were published and praised. She concluded her talk with an important piece of advice: Publication is not what makes you a writer; writing is what makes you a writer.—Evy 

On Wednesday night, One Story co-founder Hannah Tinti talked with Irina Reyn at Community Bookstore about Reyn’s incredible new novel, Mother Country. Their conversation was filled with writing tips and tricks, anecdotes about the creative process, and laughter, ending with an audience Q&A that (surprisingly) included vampires!

“I operate on what I call ‘vampiric research,’” Reyn told the crowd, “which is that I’m only sucking the blood that I need. You’re only using what you need, and you’re not getting distracted by things you don’t need. So, in other words, you’re only using the things in service of the story you want to tell.” —Andrea

Day 5: Writerly Self-Compassion

On Thursday’s craft lecture, Rakesh Satyal drew on anecdotes from his vibrant literary career to advise our summer conference participants as both a fellow writer and as an editor. Above all was his desire to see them—to see all writers, really—develop their writing lives. Satyal emphasized that one needs to be intentional about one’s writing life, highlighting the importance of dedicating time to writing. This, however, was not to say that writing must, or even should, happen every day; in his words, “You have to identify for yourself what feels productive. You know when you’re doing the work.” Later, Satyal discussed the need for writers to allow themselves the space to think on a macro level, to have a sense of the larger ideas or themes they’re writing towards. “Be a good literary citizen,” he said, which, at its core, means treating writing as a legitimate and necessary profession. Up-and-coming writers, he said, can practice good literary citizenship by paying attention to what’s happening in the “literary world,” talking with others about their own writing and buying of books, and, instead of trying to emulate prominent authors, working on honing/owning their unique perspectives. Of perhaps the most importance, though, was his view on writerly self-compassion: “Let yourself know when you’ve done good work.” —Carly 

Day 6: Pay Attention To What You Pay Attention To

For the final craft lecture of our Summer Conference, our very own Ann Napolitano discussed the importance of writers living in service of their work. In the first of three sections, titled “Paying Attention,” Napolitano centered on the need for writers to pay attention to the things that hold their interest—namely, inexplicable obsessions that lodge themselves deep in their brains. Drawing on David Lynch’s book Catching the Big Fish, Napolitano explored the idea of the “internal magnet,” which she defined as certain ideas “sticking” to one’s subconscious in the same way magnets stick to a refrigerator door. There is often no discernible rhyme or reason for a particular idea to stick around, she said; something inside you decides, and one’s job as a writer is to lean into the resulting obsession with intention. “Your calibrating magnet is the you of you,” Napolitano said, and listening to it can lead to your best work. In her second section, called “The Inside Job,” Napolitano emphasized the need for writers to turn away from their end goal(s), instead focusing only on the work at hand. Through writing for oneself (instead of for external validation) and, as Rakesh Satyal spoke about in his lecture, having self-compassion, writers will, hopefully, realize that they have agency in choosing where their thoughts go. In turn, this could help writers to experience more mental clarity when writing. For her final section, “The Practical Side,” Napolitano gave practical advice on how to develop one’s writing life with intention and mindfulness, including a list of different lifestyle choices one can use to aid in the development of a regular writing practice. Quoting Annie Dillard, Napolitano said that “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” One’s writing—as well as one’s quality of life—improves when treated seriously. —Carly 

The One Storys Summer Writers Conference ended with memorable readings from all of our students and jokes from the One Story instructors and staff. Tears might have been shed. It has been a pleasure to talk with each and every writer who attended this week-long conference and helped create such a generative, supportive space. We hope your time with us was meaningful and that you created life-long literary friends.

As a parting gift for our fellow writers, some final words from Hannah Tinti: “Your writing is not you. It’s something you have done.”—Andrea

Issue #253: Lillian Li’s “Coach Ray”

Back when I was at Granta, I had the pleasure of being the first person ever to publish Lillian Li. Later, I was thrilled to finally hold in my hands her debut novel, Number One Chinese Restaurant, and I was thrilled when more of her work landed on my desk at One Story. Our omni-wonderful managing editor Lena Valencia worked on the story with Lillian, and their mutual enthusiasm for this deceptively quiet (and tense) piece of writing turned it into our brilliant new issue. Here’s Lena to introduce you to “Coach Ray.” — PR

On the annual St. Joe’s Prep cross-country team retreat at a Vermont summer camp, Coach Raymond Dockett is intent on helping the newest member, Oliver, see his potential as a runner. But it seems that Oliver doesn’t need Coach Ray’s assistance. In fact, Oliver seems to be doing everything he can to thwart Coach Ray’s attempts to help him. And the more Oliver resists Coach Ray’s help, the angrier Coach Ray gets.

There is no triumph of the underdog in this sports narrative, no good-hearted coach leading a scrappy nobody to victory. Instead, “Coach Ray” deals with something far more complicated: the power dynamics of mentorship. In writing this story, Lillian Li wanted to “look at how people abuse their power without realizing it.” As I found myself drawn deeper into the struggle between Coach Ray and Oliver, it became less and less clear who I should be rooting for.

“Coach Ray” is a disconcerting portrait of a flawed character. It’s also funny and formally inventive. It will make you laugh, and it will make you cringe in the best way. It’s morally ambiguous: regardless of who makes it to the finish line first, there are no easy answers as to who wins at the end. I’m thrilled to introduce you to Lillian Li’s “Coach Ray.”

To read an interview with Lillian Li, please visit our website.

Goodbye, My Darling…

The One Story Literary Debutante Ball is on Thursday, May 4th. This is our most important fundraiser of the year! All proceeds from ticket sales and donations that night help keep our doors open and support our mission: to celebrate the art form of the short story and support the authors who write them, through publication, education, community and mentorship.

This year, playing off the “Kill your darlings” adage, we’ve asked authors to choose a piece of text that has been cut from their work and annotate it with a handwritten goodbye note, in the form of a “Dear John” letter. We’ve been amazed at the creative ways that writers have taken to this challenge, sharing hilarious and moving anecdotes and all the different ways they’ve learned to say “Goodbye, Darling.”

These Darlings will be framed and available for sale at our Debutante Ball on Thursday, May 16th. Now YOU can own a piece of writing by one of your favorite writers that NO ONE ELSE has! All proceeds are tax-deductible and support your favorite non-profit literary organization.


Special thanks to all the authors who contributed pages to Goodbye, My Darling, including: Andrew Sean Greer, Meg Wolitzer, Jim Shepard, Karen Shepard, Ann Patchett, Darin Strauss, Nathan Englander, Kelly Link, Myla Goldberg, Hannah Tinti, Ann Napolitano, Patrick Ryan, Helen Ellis, Mira Jacob, Marie-Helene Bertino, Daniel Wallace, Tommy Orange and Kate Gray.

Pictured above: Darlings by Meg Wolitzer, Hannah Tinti, and Marie-Helene Bertino.

One Story at AWP 2019

Every year, thousands of writers, publishers, and literary professionals converge on a different city for the annual AWP Conference & Bookfair. This year, that city is Portland, OR. One Story will be there too, along with our famous spinning wheel of prizes! Will you be there? We hope you’ll come by our table, T7068, and say hello! Anyone who buys a (heavily discounted) subscription is guaranteed to win something.

You also won’t want to miss our party with Catapult, PEN America, and The Story Prize on Thursday night at Dig A Pony.

We’ve compiled a helpful rundown of all of the events featuring our authors, whose names appear in bold. See you in Portland!

THURSDAY, MARCH 28TH

Time: 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: We’re Here and We’re Queer: LGBTQ Women Tell Their Stories

Panelists: Imogen Binnie, Chelsey Johnson, Nicole Dennis-Benn, SJ Sindu, Patricia Smith

Description: Queer people—and queer women especially— have long been marginalized in literature. What are the stories being told about queer women? And who is doing the telling? Four authors with very different backgrounds discuss their books and characters, the stereotypes they fight against, and the truths and lives they reveal. What are the various identities queer women navigate in real life and on the page? What untold stories remain hidden?

Time: 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Surfing the Green Wave: Engaging Environmental & Social Issues for Young Readers

Panelists: Shanetia Clark, Todd Mitchell, Eliot Schrefer, Sherri L. Smith, Cecil Castellucci

Description: Stories shape the way we think and act. In this interactive panel, four award-winning middle grade and young adult authors discuss how they’ve sought to engage wicked problems like climate change, species extinction, and income inequality through fiction. They explore how literature is changing to address new problems, what lies beyond apocalyptic fiction, and the challenges of effectively engaging the generation that’s inheriting global problems on an unprecedented scale.

Time: 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: A Glimmer Train Reading: 28 Years of Stories

Panelists: Lee Martin, Carrie Brown, Matt Bondurant, Danielle Lazarin

Description: The first issue of Glimmer Train, founded in Portland, Oregon, appeared in 1991. Over its twenty-eight years, its stories, many of them from emerging authors, have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, The O’Henry Prize Stories, and the list goes on. Please join us for a celebration of its accomplishments as well as conversation about what makes a memorable short story via brief readings and remarks from former Glimmer Train contributors in the city where it all began.

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Standing Ovation: The Impact of Awards at All Stages of an Author’s Career

Panelists: Courtney Santo, John Blair, J. Michael Martinez, Lindsay Tigue, Melissa Yancy)

Description: How does winning a major literary award affect your career and writing? Join these prize-winning authors at various career stages for a discussion of what it means to win for the first time or for multiple times. Are there ways to capitalize on such success? Are there pitfalls to winning early? What advice do they wish they’d been given when they won? Is the system fair? They’ll also discuss failures. How many contests do you have to enter before you win?

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: Cody D. Todd Memorial Stage, Sponsored by USC, Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: History of Myself: Approaches to Research in Fiction/Creative Nonfiction.

Panelists: (Adam Nemett) California College of the Arts, San Francisco, MFA Faculty Panel: Tom Barbash, Jasmin Darznik, Adam Nemett, Leslie Carol Roberts,

Description:

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Books for a Well-Read Life: Celebrating Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Panelists: Lauren Grodstein, Heather Abel, Brock Clarke, Jonathan Evison, Joanna Luloff)

Description: Since its 1983 founding in a Chapel Hill backyard, Algonquin Books has enjoyed many notable years of publishing; however, 2017 and 2018 have proven to be extraordinary. The past two years produced the press’s first National Book Award finalist, first Man Booker Prize finalist, and first Oprah Book Pick in almost two decades, among other successes. Join us at a reading to celebrate the North Carolina indie, featuring five Algonquin authors with work released during the press’s latest banner years.

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Let’s Talk About Race, Baby; Let’s Talk About You & Me

Panelists: Jean Kwok, Mira Jacob, Mitchell S. Jackson, Irina Reyn, Devi Laskar

Description: This panel is for anyone, regardless of color, who wishes to improve the way they write about, teach or publish racially- or ethnically-charged issues in this complex time. How do we handle race and ethnicity with sensitivity, in real life and on the page? How can we overcome discrimination in workshops and the publishing world? May we write negatively about a character of a particular race? This panel of successful writers provides honesty and humor and suggests strategies for connection.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title:  Light is the Left Hand of Darkness: A Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin.

Panelists: Alexander Lumans, Emma Eisenberg, C Pam Zhang, David Naimon, Kelly Link)

Description: “Truth,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in her novel The Left Hand of Darkness, “is a matter of the imagination.” In 2018, one of America’s greatest science fiction writers passed on, leaving behind a library of literary and social achievements. Through her imaginative narratives, she scrutinized politics, gender, and the environment, creating alternate worlds and new societies as a means to convey deeper truths about our own. This panel celebrates her influential work and pays tribute to her legacy.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Bridging The Gap: How & Why Historical Writers Build Bridges To The Past

Panelists: Michael Pritchett, Amy Brill, Phong Nguyen, Jen Julian

Description: What makes historical writers unique is our desire to bridge gaps from our current world to worlds we left behind in the past. Through the lens of single lives, we tell the stories of the past’s constructive/destructive impact on the present, moments of change, and battles between Old World and New. We explore moral history, the evolution of ideas, and the tantalizing could-have-beens. A panel of writers with diverse visions discuss the hows and whys of their mission to bridge history’s gaps.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2

Title:  Lisa Ko and Nicole Chung, Sponsored by PEN America.

Panelists: Lisa Ko, Nicole Chung

Description: Join Nicole Chung and Lisa Ko in conversation.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: The Revision That Got Away From Me

Panelists: Erin Saldin, Nova Ren Suma, Eliot Schrefer, Maria Dahvana Headley, Brandy Colbert

Description: We all expect to revise our books while we’re creating them alone in our rooms, and sure, we assume we’ll do some editing with our editors once the book has been acquired. But what happens when, post-acquisition, the book becomes something utterly different during the editorial revision process? Five YA authors discuss and read from the revision that got away from them. They’ll talk about how they coped, and how the process opened up unexpected possibilities and directions for their work.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: UnBiography: Creating Fictional Characters from Factual People

Panelists: Caitlin Horrocks, Jasmin Darznik, Peter Ho Davies, Zachary Lazar, Megan Mayhew Bergman

Description: Transfiguring historical figures into fictional characters asks the writer to grapple not only with craft challenges, but questions of genre, ethics, and research. Does the artist who uses a real subject for inspiration inevitably become Robert de Montesquiou’s “thief of souls”? How faithful can or should writers be to the historical record? How do writers research that record without becoming paralyzed by it? Panelists will discuss big picture questions and offer practical suggestions.

Time: 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Personal, Political, Provocative: Celebrating 45 Years of The Sun

Panelists: Sy Safransky, David James Duncan, Danusha Lameris, Susan Straight, John Brehm

Description: January 2019 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of The Sun, a reader-supported, ad-free magazine. Each monthly issue features radically intimate and socially conscious writing that touches anyone with an open heart and a curious mind. To celebrate The Sun’s anniversary, the founder and editor joins four contributors for a reading of work from the magazine.

Time: 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title:  The Art of the Craft Talk: Tips from the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference Faculty

Panelists: Charlotte Wyatt, Lan Samantha Chang, Daniel Orozco, Michael Byers, Angela Pneuman

Description: Writers are asked to give craft talks at literary festivals, writers’ conferences, book tours, and classroom visits. With unfamiliar audiences and limited time, the selection of topics, texts, and delivery methods becomes a set of important considerations. Moderated by an MFA candidate, this panel of fiction faculty from the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference offers both innovative and tried-and-true approaches for writers who are beginning to develop these important professional skills.

FRIDAY, MARCH 29TH

Time: 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Unspoken Intimacies: On Male Friendship, Romance, and Everything in Between

Panelists: Alex McElroy, Cheston Knapp, Brandon Taylor, Garth Greenwell, Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Description: What responsibility do male authors have in disrupting the patriarchy? How can literature take aim at toxic masculinity? This panel brings together five prose writers whose work challenges masculine norms by engaging with male intimacy and vulnerability to reimagine cultural possibilities. Panelists will discuss craft techniques in fiction and nonfiction, as well as the ethical necessity of portraying intimacy between men in literature.

Time: 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: The PushMePullMe of Advising Lit Journals: Publishing While Getting Published

Panelists: John Schulze, Pauls Toutonghi, Daryl Brown, Jeff Newberry, Marianne Kunkel

Description: Five experienced undergraduate literary journal advisors share strategies for providing quality experiential learning opportunities for their students within the editing and publishing field, developing the time-management skills necessary for timely publication, maintaining their own publishing schedule, and leveraging their roles as advisors when it comes to academic appointments, promotion, and tenure.

Time: 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Location: Zachary A. Doss Memorial Stage, Sponsored by USC, Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Timely vs. Timeless: How to Balance a Hot Topic vs. Creating Timeless Literature.

Panelists: Susan Choi, Tanya Selvaratnam, Sharma Shields, Julie Buntin

Description: How does the writing process change when the subject matter you chose long ago is suddenly all over the news? Three authors, each with forthcoming books rooted in the past, will discuss the process of writing stories anchored in time when elements of their stories becomes startlingly fresh. How do we tell stories about women, about war, about assault, about prejudice, in a time when such ideas are under present-day scrutiny? Tanya Selveratnam will moderate as each author discusses her unique methods of dealing with current events as they pertain to timeless stories.

Time: 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Location: Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Tell Me a Story: Getting a Debut Collection Published

Panelists: Matthew Lansburgh, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Ivelisse Rodriguez, R.L. Maizes, Clare Beams

Description: It’s well known that short story collections can be difficult to publish, yet several avenues exist, as do strategies for making collections stand out. Authors of debut collections discuss the pros and cons of publication through contests, independent publishers, and big five publishers, as well as how to approach each one. The panelists examine ways to make a collection as strong as it can be through, among other things, story selection, sequencing, and themes.

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: Portland Ballroom 251, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2

Title: Real Women Talk Dirty: Feminisms of Sex in Fiction.

Panelists: Merritt Tierce, Debra Monroe, Mary Ann Mohanraj, Nalo Hopkinson, Claire Vaye Watkins

One way to define dirt is as “matter out of place.” Is “dirty” literature labelled as such because of its content, or because of its irreverent treatment of such matter? What would advocates of heteroglossia or mixed discourses think of “dirty fiction”—that its determined blending makes it the sharpest edge of realism? Is the depiction of sex crucial to the goals of feminisms, and how? This all-woman panel discusses craft hazards and opportunities of rendering the sexually explicit.

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: A107-109, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Knowing the Story: Flannery O’Connor Award Winners on Writing Short Fiction.

Panelists: Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, Lori Ostlund, Amina Gautier, Siamak Vossoughi, Becky Mandelbaum

Flannery O’Connor is quoted as saying, “I find that most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one.” This panel will explore what five short story writers (all winners of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction) know (or know they don’t know) about short fiction form and style, as well as about polishing a collection for submission. Part reading, part lively discussion, this panel will be both exploration and celebration of short fiction as a thriving literary form.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: D139-140, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Dirty Works: Fiction From the New American Working Class.

Panelists: Gonzalo Baeza, Joseph Haske, Jodi Angel, Daniel Mendoza

Writers from poor and working-class regions read stories and novel excerpts set in the unique, underrepresented areas that inspired their respective fiction. These authors deliver their work in raw, unfiltered voices, focusing on places often ignored as literary settings. While a working-class or impoverished upbringing creates many obstacles for aspiring writers, these authors draw invaluable experience from such disadvantages, and hardship ultimately enriches their literary nuance and style.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: B114, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Preaching Beyond the Choir: The Value of Creative Writing Outside the Major.

Panelists: Katherine Zlabek, David James Poissant, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Michelle Burke, Melinda Moustakis

This panel considers what best to offer a student if given one shot, one class, to make creative writing relevant in the student’s day-to-day life. Panelists will share diverse approaches to the classroom that expose students to ways of viewing both written work, and the world around them, as spaces that can be shifted and enhanced through creative effort. They will engage in a discussion on the importance of exposure and representation, aspiration and a writer’s brass tacks.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: F152, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title:  Tarot for Writers: Expanding Intuition, Imagination, and Craft.

Panelists: Cecily Sailer, Laurie Filipelli, Catherine Bowman, Fatima Kola

The archetypal imagery of Tarot offers access to the intuitive self that fuels our best creative work. In this panel, several writers discuss how they use Tarot to better understanding the creative process, their own work, and the “psycho-spiritual” journey of writers in all genres. This discussion includes practical exercises and approaches for using Tarot during the writing process, in workshop, and when teaching, regardless of prior knowledge about Tarot cards and their traditional meanings.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: A106, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Beyond the Desk: Engaging Community As a Writer-Activist.

Panelists: Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, Sam Ligon, Kristen Millares Young, Dawn Pichon Barron, Julia Hands

Writing requires solitude, but being a writer requires community. What does it mean, though, to be a writer-activist today? This panel will focus on how five Pacific Northwest writers have woven activism into their writing lives, from the personal to the broadly political. Discussion will include how to find and create arts-activism opportunities in your own community, the relationship between engaged literary citizenship and engaged democracy, and the influence activism has on the panelists’ own writing.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: D131-132, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: The F Word: Writing Unabashedly Feminist Fiction.

Panelists: Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Naomi Williams, Carolina de Robertis, Aya de Leon, Chantel Acevedo

The word feminist is controversial. Yet the VIDA charts prove, year after year, that the publishing playing field isn’t level. Given the data they reveal about who gets published and reviewed, how do writers who identify as feminists navigate both the writing and publishing process? Are there consequences, positive or negative, to claiming the identifier? What constitutes feminist fiction? Who gets to define the term? In short, how does claiming feminism affect writing fiction?

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: D136, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: The Sense of an Ending: Writers Over 60 Discuss Death.

Panelists: Katharine Haake, Rod Val Moore, Gail Wronksy, Chuck Rosenthal, Dorothy Barresi

It’s not polite to say so, but writers grow old too (if they’re lucky). The body, like the world, is a dangerous place. And if, in the chilling uneasiness of the new world order, it’s hard not to wonder what’s next, whether personal or global, one day the bombs go off. Everybody knows this. Yet somehow it comes to each of us as a big surprise: We can die; we will die; we do die. Writers over 60 who work in different genres explore literature, politics, and the end of life.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Between the Margins and Mainstream: Liminal Spaces of Jewish American Literature.

Panelists: Jacob Appel, Molly Antopol, Alicia Jo Rabins, Aaron Tillman, Erika Meitner

For many American Jews, being “Jewish” is not a religious nor an ethnic signifier; Jewish Americans have diverse conceptions of marriage, gender, culture, and spiritual practice. While Jewish identity remains, it is not easily classifiable in social or literary spheres. How does this anomalous position play out in contemporary Jewish American literature? This panel of Jewish-identified writers and performers will address how they and others have grappled with an increasingly elusive identity.

Time: 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Location: E145, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Speculative Fiction, Genre, and World-building in the Creative Writing Classroom.

Panelists: Brenda Peynado, Ploi Pirapokin, Kelly Link, Karen Fowler, Trent Hergenrader

With more and more writers interested in speculative fiction, magical realism, and genre, how can workshops, teachers, and programs embrace all these forms? Panelists who teach in the Clarion Writers Workshop, UCLA Extension Programs, MFAs, and undergraduate programs discuss specific approaches to teaching, including speculative fiction in literary fiction workshops, classes and programs tailored for genre forms, and guiding students to build sound, imaginative, and diverse worlds.

Time: 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Location: B117-119, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Making Ourselves Small: Women and Publishing in the Age of Self-Promotion.

Panelists: Misha Rai, Ama Codjoe, Lee Conell, Jaclyn Watterson, Anne Valente

With the rising expectation that authors maintain a strong social media presence and promote their writing accomplishments, this panel will discuss the difficulties of this expectation for women writers who have often been socialized to not call attention to themselves. This panel will address the intersections of gender and race in examining how promoting one’s own material is not equally applicable for all writers, and in fact comes with consequences for many despite the pressure to post.

SATURDAY MARCH, 30TH

Time: 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Location: E145, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Editor-Author Relationships: How Should They Be?

Panelists: Jennifer Acker, John Freeman, Tracy O’Neill, Yuka Igarashi, Patrick Ryan

Literary journals and small presses provide a platform for launching the careers of writers, and strong editorial support is key to this role. Collaboration between editor and author happens in real time, on the page. In turn, editors are often writers, with their own distinct experiences sending work into the world and being edited. What can and should editors provide authors, and how can their own experiences as writers and literary citizens inform and expand these collaborative relationships?

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: C125-126, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Jewish Women Writers Confront Identity.

Panelists: Elizabeth A.I. Powell, Jamie Wendt, Hadara Bar-Nadav, Irina Reyn, Simone Zelitch

In this panel, female Jewish poets and prose writers discuss how identity shapes their work. The writers explore how historical and current events, specifically ones that have impacted Jews, enter their writing, including recent rises in antisemitism and racism. The panelists consider how their experiences as Jews enter into their poems and stories, both politically and personally.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: B113, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: How to Design a Novel Workshop.

Panelists: James Hannaham, Leni Zumas, Matthew Salesses, Chelsey Johnson, Susan Choi

Ever the misfit in traditional workshops, the novel needs its own space to grow. In a conversation for anyone who writes novels, teaches novel courses, or wants to, five writers reveal how we structure generative, productive novel workshops. We’ll exchange imaginative prompts and craft exercises that spur writers on and see them through the long haul. And we’ll reflect on how teaching this expansive, unruly genre has altered the way we understand the workshop form—and the novel itself.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: C125-126, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Crossovers: Writing for Both Teens and Adults.

Panelists: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, Lilliam Rivera, Patrick Ryan, Megan Cummins, Sarah Nicole Smetana

YA crossover is an appealing idea: a book sold to both teens and adults, read more widely because its meaning shape shifts across age groups. This panel brings together writers who write for both teens and adults within the same project; for a YA audience sometimes and for adults at others; and writers who don’t think about age at all when they write. The panel asks what lessons we learn as early readers and explores why writers should never underestimate their readers, no matter their ages.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: E141-142, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: The Non-Residency Residency: From Working Writers.

Panelists: Emily Wolahan, Dean Rader, Aimee Phan, Kate Folk, Yalitza Ferreras

Writers’ residencies can be a fantastic way to set aside time and space to write, but not everyone can press pause on their professional and family lives in order to attend one. There are, however, alternative models to the traditional residency. From coworking spaces, to programs in interdisciplinary art centers, to self-started retreats, panelists discuss a range of opportunities available to writers looking to deepen their practice and build community—and find time to write.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location:Portland Ballroom 251, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2

Title: Worth a Thousand Words: Poetry, Photography, and Instagram.

Panelists: Kai Carlson-Wee, Cheston Knapp, Raven Jackson, Anita Koester, Karyna McGlynn

From Allen Ginsberg to Rupi Kaur, poets and artists have often found a common language through imagery. With the recent popularity of visual media through online platforms like Facebook and Instagram, writers have been finding new and innovative ways to share their work using multimedia. Five award-winning writer-photographers display their work and discuss ways in which the two mediums can be used to complement each other in the digital age.

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: F152, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: Hedgebrook Voices Rising.

Panelists: Amy Wheeler, Shobha Rao, Hannah Tinti, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, Victoria Redel

Hedgebrook’s global community of women authoring change comes together for readings of alumnae work across genre, generation, and geography. Come celebrate Hedgebrook’s thirtieth anniversary, enjoy hearing work by women writers in its community, and join a conversation about the movement for equal voice in the cultural conversation.

Time: 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Location: D131-132, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title:  In Over Your Head: The Undergraduate Workshop.

Panelists: Michael Croley, Laura van den Berg, Joanna Klink, Alexander Chee, Anne Valente

Undergraduate workshops often don’t just pose a problem for students whose aim exceeds their emotional reach and experience; they present challenges to teachers as well. Five professors focus on navigating difficult material—writing that is potentially triggering to other students, for example, or charged personal stories from which students have little distance—and show a variety of approaches, questions, and tools for how fraught material can be handled with grace and care.

Time: 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Location: B115, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Title: The Word on the Street: How to Start & Run a Community Literary Series.

Panelists: Naomi Williams, Peg Alford Pursell, Sue Staats, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Nita Noveno

Do you run—or want to start—a reading series in your community? Most literary events are hosted by bookstores, colleges, libraries, festivals, etc. But it’s possible to host your own series outside the umbrella of a larger existing organization. Our panelists direct thriving independent literary series. From managing venues, fundraising, and publicity, to luring big-name writers to town, we’ll discuss the nuts-and-bolts of founding, running, and sustaining small community literary events.

Announcing our 2019 Debutantes

One Story proudly presents our 2019 Debutantes:

Join us as we toast these six One Story authors who have published their first books in the past year and honor Kelly Link, our Distinguished Alum! The One Story Literary Debutante Ball will take place on Thursday, May 16th at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY.  We’ll have live music, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, and specialty cocktails. It is our most important fundraising event of the year.

Tickets for the Ball are on sale now starting at $150. $75 tickets will go on sale 4/1.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities for the One Story Literary Debutante Ball, please contact: maribeth@one-story.com.

Annotated Pages Auction

Bidding is now open for One Story’s online Annotated Pages Auction! We invited writers to hand-annotate a manuscript page from one of their published books and are auctioning off those pages online. Participating authors include: J. Courtney Sullivan, Min Jin Lee, Dani Shapiro, Jim Shepard, Peter Carey, Darin Strauss, Claire Vaye Watkins, J. Courtney Sullivan, Jami Attenberg, Vendela Vida, Michael Cunningham, Karen Shepard, Aimee Bender, and Karen Russell. Own a piece of contemporary literary history and support One Story.

Bidding is open  through 1pm EST Thursday, June 28th. Bids start at just $25. One Story Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all winning bids are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Visit our auction page for more information, and to place your bids!

Pictured: Annotated page from “Popular Girls” by Karen Shepard, from her collection KISS ME SOMEONE.

Announcing our 2018 Literary Debutantes

via GIPHY

One Story proudly presents our 2018 Literary Debutantes:

And Alexander Chee, our Mentor of the Year!

Join us as we toast these three One Story authors who have published their first books in the past year! The One Story Literary Debutante Ball will take place on Friday, May 4th at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY.  We’ll have live music, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, and specialty cocktails. It is our most important fundraising event of the year.

Tickets are on sale now starting at $75. To discuss sponsorship opportunities for the One Story Literary Debutante Ball, please contact: maribeth@one-story.com.

Adopt a Short Story

These issues need forever homes!

April 2018 marks our 16th anniversary and the publication of 240 stories by 240 different authors. We hope you’ll join us in the celebration by taking one of our back issues under your wing.

From now until April 15, we’re seeking 240 different readers to adopt an issue and help ensure that One Story makes it to issue 300.

Adopting an issue is simple.

Give $25 or more at www.one-story.com

When you do, we’ll assign you an issue and send you a copy in the mail right away. Each issue comes with an adoption certificate and undying gratitude from us here at One Story.

Donor 1 will receive our debut issue, “Villanova: Or How I Became a Former Professional Literary Agent” by John Hodgman, donor 27 will receive Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Transition to Glory,” and donor 59 will receive “The Great Divorce” by Kelly Link.

Give a short story a good home—adopt one today!

One Story at AWP 2017

In just a couple of days, the AWP conference will descend upon Washington, D.C., bringing thousands of literary magazines, MFA programs, publishers, and writers to our nation’s capitol. One Story will be there, too, and we hope that you’ll come visit us at booth #472. We’ll be selling discounted subscriptions, recent issues of One Story and One Teen Story, and custom-curated three packs of the magazine. We’ll also be registering people for our newest online class, and raffling off prizes (one of which is a Nasty Writer tee similar to the ones pictured above).

Wondering which panels & readings to go to? We’ve got some suggestions! Co-Founder Hannah Tinti will be giving a reading on Thursday from her new book, and One Story Editor in Chief Patrick Ryan will be hosting a panel on Saturday. One Story authors will also be participating in some amazing events throughout the conference—here’s a schedule (One Story Author/Editor/Contributor names in BOLD)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH:

9:30-10 am:  Writing in a Time of Terror and Environmental Collapse. (Imad Rahman, Jacob Shoes-Arguello, William Wenthe, Anne Sanow, Jacqueline Kolosov) Archives, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four How do writers give shape to the experiences of war, terrorism, and the disregard for life endemic on this planet? Muriel Rukeyser believed that denying the responsiveness to the world could bring forth “the weakness that leads to mechanical aggression… turning us inward to devour our own humanity, and outward to sell and kill nature and each other.” Given global terrorism and the spoliation of the planet, the stakes in being able to respond are terribly high. Writers working in poetry, prose, and hybrid forms, will discuss their ways of meeting this challenge in their works past and present, including the difficulties they face and the sources from which they take inspiration.

10:30-11:45: Leashing the Beast: Humanizing Fictional Monsters. (Anna Sutton, Steven Sherrill, Clare Beams, Kate Bernheimer, Julia Elliott) Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four Want to write fabulous fabulist fiction? Bring your beasts to the table. Panelists discuss their influences, inspiration, and how they go about creating characters who exist between human and monster, mundane and extraordinary. In addition, they explore how writing a fantastical other can open up the conversation to contemporary societal issues, all while cultivating empathy within both the writer and the reader.

12:00-1:15: Beautiful Mysteries: Science in Fiction and Poetry. (Robin Schaer, Amy Brill, Catherine Chung, Martha Southgate, Naomi Williams) Liberty Salon L, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” In search of those mysteries, poets and fiction writers mine the revelations and riddles of science to better understand the human condition. This panel will explore why botanists, astronauts, and climatologists populate the pages of modern literature; how writing advances ecological awareness; and how science is a metaphor and a lens to decode our beautiful universe.

12:00-1:15: A Field Guide for the Craft of Fiction: Finding Structure. (Michael Noll, Manuel Gonzales, Kelly Luce, Daniel José Older, LaShonda Barnett) Virginia Barber Middleton Stage, Sponsored by USC, Exhibit Halls D & E, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two When talking about narrative structure, we often focus on the macro: three acts, plot points, beginnings, and endings. But there are micro ways to think about structure while working with character, dialogue, the movement through time and space, and shifts between interiority and exterior action. Authors of literary, fantasy, and YA fiction featured in the forthcoming Field Guide for the Craft of Fiction will discuss how they developed (and stumbled upon) structure in their novels and stories

12:00-1:15: Write Your Memoir like a Novel. (Joanna Rakoff, Tova Mirvis, Dani Shapiro, Marie Mockett, Christa Parravani) Room 202A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two What happens when a novelist writes a memoir? Some of the rules change: no more making everything up. But crafting a memoir requires many of the same skills used in writing fiction. A memoir is filled with characters that need to be developed—even if one of those characters is you. Real-life events still need to be shaped into an arc. This panel, comprised of fiction writers who have written memoirs,will discuss ways to use the techniques of fiction writing to bring a memoir to life.

12:00-1:15: The Art of the Novella: Publishers and Writers On Crafting the Beautifully In-Between. (Richard Hermes, Deena Drewis, Lindsey Drager, Dennis Johnson, Josh Weil) Room 207B, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two Ian McEwan calls it the perfect form of prose fiction, but the novella is often seen as an awkward middle sibling, defined by what it isn’t. How do we know if our work isn’t merely a bloated short story or fledgling novel? What’s at stake in working in this (arguably marginalized) form? Pioneering publishers of stand-alone novellas, Melville House and Nouvella, join accomplished authors to share what they’ve learned from reading manuscripts, curating book lists, and publishing their own drafts.

3:00-4:15: But Do You Have a Novel? How and Why Short Story Writers Transition into Novelists. (Susan Perabo, David James Poissant, Caitlin Horrocks, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Amina Gautier) Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four Even the most successful short story writers face this daunting question: “Is there a novel coming?” Agents and publishers contend that the market simply does not exist for story collections. Thus many story writers embark on novels in part to secure publishing contracts, and then struggle with a new form they have promised to deliver. We take on practical questions of transitioning to a new genre, and also consider the issue of navigating the professional complexities of this transition.

4:30–5:45pm: Jennifer Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, and Hannah Tinti: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau (moderated by Ron Charles) Ballroom A, Washington Convention Center, Level Three This event will bring together three engaging contemporary female writers to read and discuss their craft. Jennifer Egan is the author of five books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. Karen Joy Fowler is the author of nine books, including We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award. Hannah Tinti is the author of three books, including The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which will be published in 2017.

4:30-5:45: Science in Literary and Mainstream Fiction: A New Wave. (Nancy Lord, Susan Gaines, Kathleen Dean Moore, Michael Byers, Jean Hegland) Room 101, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Street Level Recent decades have seen an upsurge of novels that deal with knowledge, themes, and characters from scientific fields such as biology, ecology, chemistry, genetics, paleontology, neuroscience, and psychology. Panelists discuss the reasons for this trend, the particular craft challenges and responsibilities of writing about science in realistic fiction, and the ramifications of such fiction for public understandings of science and debates on related social and environmental issues.

4:30-5:45: Fractured Selves: Fabulism as a Platform for Minorities, Women, and the LGBT Community. (Sequoia Nagamatsu, Aubrey Hirsch, Brenda Peynado, Zach Doss, Ramona Ausubel) Room 207A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two Fabulist writers and editors define Fabulism (often used with other terms like magical realism and slipstream), illuminate individual approaches to the genre alongside brief readings, and discuss how fabulism can be a rich territory for expression, exploration, and power for minorities, women, and the LGBT community. What does it mean to write about the other from other worlds or hybrid spaces?

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10TH:

9:00-10:15: A Novelist’s Job: The Realities, Joys, and Challenges. (Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Julia Fierro, Celeste Ng) Room 203AB, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two A novelist’s most important job is writing a great book. But say that’s done, and the book sold. What’s next? How does one master social media and the promotional partnership with a publisher? What are the financial realities of signing a book deal or leading a “successful” novelist’s life? What are the pros and cons of teaching, starting a writing-adjacent business, or making ends meet on words alone? Our award-winning panelists offer hard-earned advice on building a sustainable career.

9:00-10:15: Strange Bedfellows: The Unholy Mingling of Politics and Art. (Andrew Altschul, Nick Flynn, V. V. Ganeshananthan, Anthony Marra) Room 202A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two If the pen is mightier than the sword, why are young writers so often told that politics and literature don’t—or shouldn’t—mix? The introduction of real-world conflicts interferes with good storytelling, the theory goes, favoring ideas over characters and the general over the concrete. How then can writers find a space to explore the matters of life and death, wealth and poverty, war and governance that affect us all? How should art respond to the terrors of modern life?

10:30-11:45: Novels and Short Stories: How a Narrative Finds Its Form. (Deb Olin Unferth, Jon Raymond, Sara Majka, J. Robert Lennon) Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four Five Graywolf Press authors read from their new and forthcoming books and discuss the differences inherent in writing short stories and novels. Are some narratives best suited to one form or another? How does each form demand a different approach to the writing process? Does the length and shape of the narrative restrict or enhance the story being told? These authors, who range in experience from established to emerging, bring a variety of perspectives to bear on these questions and more.

12:00-1:15: Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Organizing and Structuring Story Collections. (Sian Griffiths, Benjamin Hale, Marie-Helene Bertino, Michael Martone, Julia Elliott) Archives, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four Putting together a story collection can feel like assembling a jigsaw puzzle in which the pieces don’t quite fit and there is no one solution. Must the stories be interconnected or thematically connected? Can stories be linked by virtue of voice, tone, or style? How much does the marketplace influence the writer’s approach? The panel presents writers of interconnected, thematically connected, and unconnected stories to provide insight for story writers seeking to build their collections.

12:00-1:15: Raising Hell: Writing from the Extremes. (R. O. Kwon, Roxane Gay, Téa Obreht , Laura van den Berg, Catherine Chung) Room 202A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two Terrorists! Cult leaders! Violent criminals! Psychopaths! This reading presents fiction writers who have given voice to the baleful extremes of human experience. What are the joys, risks, and responsibilities of writing sinister characters whom many readers might have trouble understanding? How should fiction writers think about depicting evil? What are potential difficulties? Join the panelists as they share perspectives and read from their work.

1:30-2:45: New Writers Award 45th Anniversary Reading. (David James Poissant, Tarfia Faizullah, Ander Monson, Brad Watson, Kim Addonizio) Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two The Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award is one of North America’s oldest, most celebrated first book prizes. Now in its forty-fifth year, the award has launched the careers of Alice Munro, Louise Erdrich, and Jorie Graham, among many others. To commemorate the award, five winners from three decades read their poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The reading is followed by a Q&A

1:30-245: The Transnational Novel: Decolonizing Fiction. (Robin Hemley, Lisa Ko, Xu Xi, Evan Fallenberg, Sybil Baker) Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four In a time of the largest mass migration of humans since World War II, the transnational novel seems more relevant than ever. Four authors who have written transnational novels discuss the impetus behind writing in the form and its challenges and rewards. They also discuss how to approach perspective and craft when writing as well as the attendant writing life that often accompanies it.

1:30-2:45: The World Turned Upside Down: Hamilton , An American Musical. (Judith Baumel, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Victorio Reyes, Stephen O’Connor) Room 102B, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Street Level The smash Broadway hit Hamilton has been rightly called a game changer. Borrowing from Charles Chesnutt, Lin-Manuel Miranda uses the world turned upside down as an image for the revolution, reversal, and subversion of political and artistic norms. Here, in the capital city, which Hamilton envisioned, Martha Southgate will introduce poets, fiction writers, and playwrights who discuss what’s new and what’s old in the show—its hip-hop poetics, music/ lyric sampling, imagery, narrative, staging & more.

3:00-4:15: In Conversation: Emma Straub and Ann Patchett. Sponsored by the Center for Fiction and Write On Door County. (Emma Straub, Ann Patchett, Noreen Tomassi) Ballroom A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Three New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers, Emma Straub is joined by Orange Prize–winner Ann Patchett (The Patron Saint of Liars, Bel Canto, State of Wonder, Commonwealth). Both have written extensively on family, friendships, and the tensions of adulthood. They will read from and discuss their work.

3:00-4:15: A 10th Anniversary Reading from Bull City Press. (Ross White, Anne Valente, Anders Carlson-Wee, Emilia Phillips, Tiana Clark) Room 203AB, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two For ten years, Bull City Press has focused on representing brevity in its many incarnations. Now publishing chapbooks from established and emerging writers in poetry and short prose, Bull City Press showcases unique voices and the vibrancy of compressed forms. We celebrate the first decade with a reading from recent winners of the Frost Place Chapbook Competition, contributors to Inch magazine, and authors from our chapbook series.

3:00-4:15: The Village of Your Novel. (Rebecca Smith, Carole Burns, Robin Black, Margot Livesey) Room 207B, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two Jane Austen advised that three or four families in a country village was the very thing to work on. Two hundred years since the publication of Emma, the idea of the village of your novel can help you manage a cast of characters, build tension, and create a sense of place. This international panel looks at ways writers create villages (inner city or rural) and demonstrates practical methods and exercises for leading readers into a convincing world, utilizing its spaces and playing with its rules.

4:30-5:45: A Reading and Conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sponsored by the Authors Guild. (E. Ethelbert Miller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ta-Nehisi Coates) Ballroom A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Three Join us for this featured event with two of the most critically acclaimed thinkers of our time, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Adichie has received numerous awards and distinctions including the Orange Prize for Half of a Yellow Sun, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Americanah, and a Macarthur Fellowship. Coates, also a MacArthur Fellowship recipient, is the National Correspondent for The Atlantic, and he won the 2015 National Book Award for Between the World and Me. Both will read from their latest work, and will participate in a discussion moderated by writer and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller.

4:30-5:45: Double Bind: Women Writers on Ambition. (Robin Romm, Pam Houston, Erika Sanchez, Claire Vaye Watkins, Hawa Allan) Room 202A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two A woman must be ambitious in order to have a meaningful career in the arts. But ambition in women is often seen as un-feminine, egoistic, and aggressive rather than crucial to great work and identity. Until recently, no conversation has taken place to help women navigate this pervasive but unspoken double bind. On this panel, women across diverse backgrounds genres provide both stories from the trenches and practical strategies for progressing in the arts, academia, and beyond.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH:

9:00-10:15: I’ll Take You There: Place in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. (Ethan Rutherford, Paul Yoon, Edward McPherson, francine harris) Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two Establishing a strong sense of place in a work of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction is difficult but essential. As Dorothy Allison tells us, place is not just setting—a physical landscape—but so much more: it’s context, feeling, invitation, desire, particular language, and emotion. On this cross-genre panel, four writers will discuss the importance of place in their own work, how to put place on the page, and how to navigate the electric current between a physical landscape and an emotional one.

9:00-10:15: You’re on the Tenure Track: Congratulations! Now What? (Joe Oestreich, Erica Dawson, Caitlin Horrocks, Marcus Jackson, Joey Franklin) Salon F, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Street Level Many writers hope to one day secure a tenure-track teaching position, but few have a clear idea of what the job actually entails. What are the course load, scholarship, and service demands, and how do you balance them? How do you assemble a successful tenure file? Is it possible to switch schools mid-career? Panelists—all tenured or tenure-track and from universities of varying sizes—discuss strategies for navigating toward the tenure decision and beyond.

9:00-10:15: Half of Literature Lost: Women’s Writing and the Politics of Erasure. (Rene Steinke, Cherene Sherrard, Terese Svoboda, Elizabeth Spires) Room 204AB, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two Why does the work of so many incredibly accomplished women writers regularly praised by the American literary establishment fall into relative obscurity on their death, and their legacy seemingly vanish? Ageism, gender bias, racism, the scattering of work, difficult executors, and bad timing? Panelists discuss the writing of Josephine Jacobsen, Lola Ridge, Elsa von Freytag- Loringhoven, and Dorothy West.

9:00-10:15: The Ten-Year Novel. (Tova Mirvis, Rachel Cantor, Rachel Kadish, Joanna Rakoff, Sari Wilson) Room 207B, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two Why do some novels take so long to write, and what can writers do to sustain themselves while writing a ten-year novel? This panel of female novelists will discuss why their published novels took (at least) a decade to write. Do some novels require this length of time, or was it the writer herself ? How does a book change when it’s written over a decade? Are the realities of women writers’ lives a factor? What strategies did panelists use to develop the persistence and fortitude to continue

12:00–1:15: A Tribute to Edmund White Featuring One Story Editor-in-Chief Patrick Ryan with Tom Cardamone, Alden Jones, Alexander Chee, and Alysia Abbott Room 204AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two This panel celebrates the enduring and groundbreaking career of Edmund White, one of the most influential living gay writers. His provocative works of fiction, biography, memoir, and criticism have sparked dialogues on the nature of the self in society for decades. Five writers—peers, colleagues, and those he has mentored—come together to discuss his work, life, and his influence on American letters. Edmund White speaks following the tribute.

12:00-1:15: Writing the Abyss: Turning Grim Reality into Good Fiction. (Stephen O’Connor, Helen Benedict, Helen Phillips, Ellery Washington) Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two How can powerful, beautiful, and/or comic fiction be made out of the darkest aspects of human experience? Novelists who have written about war, slavery, suicide, existential, and literal despair will tell how they do justice to their grim topics without overwhelming readers or becoming overwhelmed themselves. Questions considered: Is it better to render the horrific in detail or by implication? Must we give readers hope? Is there a war between beauty (or humor) and truth? Can cynicism be wisdom?

12:00-1:15: The Path to Publishing a First Story Collection. (Erin Stalcup, Robin Black, Lori Ostlund, Melissa Yancy) Liberty Salon M, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four Four authors discuss their different paths to publishing their first books. One of the panelists got an agented two-book deal with a big New York house, one got an unagented contract with a small university press, and two won contests: the Drue Heinz Prize and the Flannery O’Connor Award. They’ll share their stories, and provide resources and handouts to help audience members understand ideal and realistic possibilities, and navigate their own journeys to publication.

12:00-1:15: Immigrants/Children of Immigrants: A Nontraditional Path to a Writing Career. (Ken Chen, Monica Youn, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Juan Martinez, Irina Reyn) Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four Not only do you not have an uncle in publishing or see people from the neighborhood get MFAs, immigrants and children of immigrants are inculcated to opt for “safe,” “secure,” often well-paying jobs; a writing career may seem like an unimaginable luxury or a fantasy. This panel of working writers looks at both psychic and structural issues that add a special challenge for writers from immigrant families.

1:30-2:45: Girls Who Run the World: Readings of Women in the Apocalypse. (Alexander Lumans, Claire Vaye Watkins, Lucy Corin, Manuel Gonzales, Sandra Newman) Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two To ignore the role of women in apocalyptic literature is to deny over half the world’s population their opportunity to survive, let alone thrive. In this panel, five established and emerging fiction writers give voice to female protagonists in dystopian landscapes ranging from a giant sand dune to a regional office. Through individual readings of their apocalyptic visions, these writers challenge outdated versions of women at the end of the world.

3:00-4:15: Wayfaring Stranger: Writing Away from Our Experience. (Michael Croley, Richard Bausch, Brad Watson, Anne Valente, Laura van den Berg) Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two Fiction that goes beyond the self—the kind that strays from one’s own gender, ethnicity, class, and personal experience—may be the truest form of storytelling and our greatest act of empathy as artists. Five writers discuss and share the challenges posed both in writing and publishing wayfaring stories and the process they use to allow themselves the courage to write about what they don’t know.

3:00-4:15: I Did It My Way: Writing Who We Are. (Susan Orlean, Luis Alberto Urrea, Kevin Young, Celeste Ng, Melissa Stein) Room 204AB, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Two What is this writing voice we’re always hearing about, and do we need one? Does a unifying vision or voice just happen, or is it something we work at? And once we’ve established a style that feels like our own, how do we avoid pigeonholing ourselves? How can we counter pressures and expectations—internal, cultural, racial, gendered, genre, professional—and just write? Five respected poets and prose writers demystify, and perhaps remystify, how they stay true to themselves.

3:00-4:15: Does Size Matter? Corporate vs. Independent Publishers. (Nicholas Montemarano, Steve Almond, Fiona Maazel, Jay Neugeboren) Marquis Salon 5, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two Four writers, each of whom has published books with both corporate and independent publishers, will discuss the pros and cons of their varied publishing experiences. Is a bigger publisher always better? What are some advantages of publishing with a smaller press? To what degree is commercial bookselling at odds with artistic innovation and risk? How are independent presses filling a void left by an increasingly risk-averse boom-or-bust corporate publishing enterprise?

3:00-4:15: The Short Story as Laboratory. (Lesley Nneka Arimah, Carmen Maria Machado, Kendra Fortmeyer, Sofia Samatar, Juan Martinez) Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two What does short fiction allow? The form is beloved by science fiction writers, who use it to test out hypothetical futures; what does it offer writers who are doing other kinds of testing, related to emotional transitions, marginality, and migration? Is the short story an inherently border form? This panel considers these questions, the challenge of putting a set of experiments into a collection, and the tension between the laboratory and the completed book.

We’ll see you all in DC!! Remember to come by our booth to say hello.