S113. The "So What?" Factor: Making Meaning in Personal Essays and Memoir

Florida Salon 4, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Often in creative nonfiction writing it isn't enough to tell well-crafted stories from our lives. Readers crave perspective, insight, interpretation, and sometimes researched information. This panel will discuss ways of crafting essays and memoir that move beyond “What happened?” to answer, at least implicitly, “So what?”



Michele Morano is the author of Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain and of essays published in many venues, including Best American Essays, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Boulevard, and Ninth Letter. She teaches creative writing at DePaul University in Chicago.

Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, The Normal School, Hotel Amerika, Brevity, and elsewhere. She is the associate director of the MFA in writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at Champlain College. www.jerichoparms.com

Kate McCahill lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is a member of the English faculty at the Santa Fe Community College. Editor in chief of the Santa Fe Literary Review, McCahill holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her first book is Patagonian Road: A Year Alone Through Latin America.

Tim Hillegonds earned a master of arts in writing and publishing (MAWP) from DePaul University in Chicago. His work has appeared in The Rumpus, River Teeth, Baltimore Review, Brevity, The Fourth River, and others.

Miles Harvey is working on a book about the 19th-century prophet and con man James Jesse Strang. His previous work includes The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime and How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence, an oral-history collection he edited. He teaches at DePaul.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center