F209. If You Haven't Lived It, Can You Write It?

Meeting Room 1, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


As fiction writers, we are used to creating worlds and characters, if not from scratch, then from some merging of memory and imagination. But what happens when our story ideas veer toward experiences and worlds beyond our own? When can research fill in for lived experience? And what is our responsibility to “get it right?” What are some things we can do if we get it wrong? When is the story not ours to tell?


Patricia Smith is the author of the novel The Year of Needy Girls. Her nonfiction has appeared in Salon, Broad Street, Prime Number, and various anthologies including Older Queer Voices. She teaches writing and American Literature at the Appomattox Regional Governor's School in Petersburg, Virginia.

Virginia Pye is author of two critically acclaimed novels, Dreams of the Red Phoenix and RIver of Dust, an Indie Next Pick and Finalist for Virginia Literary Award. Her award winning short stories and essays are in New York Times, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Huffington Post, and numerous literary journals.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of The New York Times bestselling novel Wench. Her second novel Balm was published May 2015. Her stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review and elsewhere. She teaches in the American University MFA program.

Lamar Giles writes novels and short stories for teens and adults. He is the author of the 2015 Edgar Award Nominee Fake ID, the 2016 Edgar Award Nominee Endangered, and Overturned from Scholastic Press. He is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books.

Julie Wu's debut novel, The Third Son, was listed as one of ten riveting reads by O, The Oprah Magazine. Her honors include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, honorable mention in the Lorain Hemingway Short Story Contest, and a short-listing in the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside