War Lit at #AWP15

There’s a first for everything. For me, that means this week I will be presenting on a panel of award-winning authors at the largest conference for writers in the world. While I’ve attended the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference several times before, this year I get to go in part because of grant-funding I was awarded from the North Carolina and Toe River Arts Councils. I also get to go because panel moderators Benjamin Busch and Emily Gray Tedrowe were kind enough to include my work in their presentation proposals.

After exhausting myself with a self-funded book tour last year, I attended AWP with enthusiasm, hoping to connect with fellow war lit authors and meet writers who I had connected with via social media since the Flashes of War release. All that happened. But what also happened was I grew gravely disappointed in the narrowness of the war lit conversations at that year’s conference, in addition to the small number of women and civilians invited to contribute to these conversations. I wasn’t the only one who noticed the gap. Independent of each other, Ben and Emily wrote proposals for panels and invited me to join. Their proposals were accepted from a pool of thousands and here I am, packing for the Minneapolis Convention Center–this year’s conference headquarters. Ben and I met in 2010 and even joined forces for part of my book tour. Emily and I have never met, but women war lit authors have a way of seeking each other out, and we’ve been connected through social media for quite some time. 

If you’re in the area, please consider attending. Descriptions of my two panels are below, and following that I’ve provided a link for the full conference schedule as well.

Women Writing War
Room M100 F&G, Mezzanine Level, Thursday, April 9, 2015, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm 
Writing about her war-haunted novel Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf asks: Have I the power of conveying the true reality? Her question reflects many of the tensions in women’s war poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. How does gender disrupt conventional narratives of war? Do women tell different war stories? And how are issues of authority, credentials, and truth relevant to women currently writing about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq? (Presenters: Emily Tedrowe, Jehanne Dubrow, Katey Schultz, Cara Hoffman)

Telling Our New War Stories: Witness and Imagination Across Literary Genres
Room 211 C&D, Level 2, Saturday, April 11, 2015, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm 

It has been argued that credibility requires direct witness, that true war stories can only be told by those who have been there. The fact is that stories from Iraq and Afghanistan are arriving in all literary genres and from multiple perspectives, some using imagination to create equal truths. These five authors, writing through short fiction, essay, poetry, memoir, and nonfiction, will discuss how the fragmentary nature of the war narrative can be written from inside or outside the uniform.
(Presenters: Benjamin Busch, Phil Klay, Siobhan Fallon, Brian Turner, Katey Schultz)
At least half a dozen other panels will address war, violence, or writing “the other” in fiction, memoir, and poetry, including such presenters and fellow author friends as Brian Castner, Kayla Williams, Peter Molin, Donald Anderson, Ron Capps, and more. View the full schedule here.

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