R278. Reading the Dead: Bringing the Past to Life in Nonfiction

Room 3 & 4, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Thursday, March 8, 2018
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


What complications and opportunities arise when nonfiction writers become enmeshed in ancestor’s diaries or explorers’ notebooks or aged love letters? How does their immersion lead them beyond biography into an intimate engagement with figures of the past? Panelists working with family letters and diaries, Thomas Jefferson’s field notes, coded journals, and other historic texts examine questions of ethics, authority, structure, and genre among the challenges of reanimating the past.



Jeremy B. Jones is the author of the memoir Bearwallow. His essays appear in Oxford American, The Iowa Review, Brevity, and elsewhere. He is an associate professor of English at Western Carolina University, and is the series coeditor of In Place, a book series from WVU Press.

Rebecca McClanahan’s ten books include The Tribal Knot, a multigenerational memoir, and Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively. Recipient of a Pushcart prize and the Glasgow Award in nonfiction, she teaches in the MFA programs of Rainier Writing Workshop and Queens University.

Kiki Petrosino is an associate professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the creative writing program. She has authored three books of poetry: Witch Wife, Fort Red Border, and Hymn for the Black Terrific. She is coeditor of Transom, an online poetry journal.

Jessica Handler is the author of Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing Through Grief and Loss, and Invisible Sisters: A Memoir. Her nonfiction has appeared widely, including Tin House, Creative Nonfiction, The Bitter Southerner, Assay magazine, Drunken Boat, and The Chattahoochee Review.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center