F261. A Question of Class: The Art of Writing from Below the Middle

Room 16, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


As bell hooks said, counting the costs of revealing one’s lower class background can lead to self-censorship as writers struggle with what and how much to tell. Risks of disclosure include offering “entertainment fodder for a prurient privileged class" and otherization, especially within the academy. Real, too, are the risks of silence. This panel explores the complexity of writing below the middle class, on and off the page. Panelists speak from experience and teach in nontraditional settings.



Jeannine Ouellette is nonfiction editor at Orison Books and author of the children's book Mama Moon. Her work has appeared in december, Proximity, Nowhere, Eckleberg, and other journals and anthologies including Women's Lives: Multicultural Perspectives. She recently completed her first novel.

Bao Phi is program director of the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. He has been a spoken word poet since the early '90s. He has performed in numerous venues all over the country, and as an arts administrator, strives to serve different communities of writers locally and nationally.

Michael Torres spent his adolescence in Pomona, California as a graffiti artist. A CantoMundo fellow, he teaches creative writing in Mankato, Minnesota where he also cohosts art workshops at the Reach Drop-in Center for at-risk and homeless youths.

Jonathan Escoffery teaches at GrubStreet and is the writer in residence at Wellspring House. He's received fellowships and awards from Kimbilio Fiction, the Writers' Room (Boston), Passages North, and the Somerville Arts Council. His stories appear in Prairie Schooner, Salt Hill, and elsewhere.

Caitlin McGill


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center