F253. Writing the Frail Essay

Room 3 & 4, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


We are interested in essays that are wayward, unbalanced, embarrassing, strangely researched, disabled, and/or feminine. The frail essay, we argue, opens up a space of intimacy between writer and reader, one overlooked by conversations about “craft” and “mastery.” In this panel, we will read from our work and collaborate on key principles of frail essay writing. Then, along with the audience, we will apply these principles to a well-known masterful essay; we will together frail the strong.


Caren Beilin is the author of a forthcoming work of nonfiction, SPAIN, a novel, The University of Pennsylvania, and a collection of short fiction, Americans, Guests, or Us. She is a reviews editor for Full Stop magazine and teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Amina Cain is the author most recently of the short story collection Creature, and she is currently at work on a novel and a book of essays on fiction.

Shamala Gallagher is a poet and essayist whose work appears in Poetry, Black Warrior Review, The Offing, West Branch, and The Rumpus. She is a Kundiman fellow, a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, and a PhD student and instructor at the University of Georgia.

April Freely's essays and poetry have appeared in Forklift, OH, Gulf Coast, New Madrid, and elsewhere. A recipient of an Ohio Arts Council grant, she has also been awarded fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

Vi Khi Nao is the author of a novel, Fish in Exile, and, The Old Philosopher, a poetry collection. She was the winner of 2014 Nightboat Poetry Prize and the 2016 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest for A Brief Alphabet of Torture, a collection of short stories.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside