F144. Speculative Nonfiction: The Act of Invention in the Context of Reality

Florida Salon 5, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
10:30 am to 11:45 am


The panel will define speculative nonfiction as writing in which actual or verifiable material is not at war with material invented/extrapolated/speculated/fantasized. In this nonfiction territory, invention does not negate actuality, but expands its truth and its uses. The authors will examine why and how nonfiction writers use speculation, then consider the repercussions, politics, and epistemology of mixing what is true with what is possible or even impossible.



Amy Benson is the author of Seven Years to Zero and The Sparkling-Eyed Boy, winner of the Bakeless Prize in Nonfiction by Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Recent prose has appeared in journals such as Agni, BOMB, Boston Review, and Gettysburg Review. She teaches at Rhodes College.

Susanne Paola Antonetta’s most recent book is Curious Atoms from Essay Press. Awards include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, a Library Journal Best Science book, a Pushcart Prize, and others. She coauthored nonfiction text Tell It Slant and she is editor of the Bellingham Review.

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson. An associate professor English at Vassar College, he is the author of the novel, Long Division, and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.

Sabrina Orah Mark is the author of the prose poetry collections The Babies and Tsim Tsum. Her poems and stories have recently appeared or are forthcoming in American Short Fiction, B O D Y, The Believer, and in the anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales.

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the author of two books, My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode. She is an assistant professor at the Ohio State University.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center