S206. What a Heroine Can Do: Female Protagonists Take Back the Narrative

Oregon Ballroom 203, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Saturday, March 30, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Cora, Offred, Katniss. To ignore the female protagonist is to slight a necessary and integral character in literature, denying not only her past achievements but also her future potential to be an agent of her own change. In this panel, five established and emerging fiction writers give voice to the dynamically resonant women at the centers of their novels. Through individual readings of their potent protagonists, these writers challenge the patriarchal view that a woman cannot be a hero.



Alexander Lumans was awarded a 2018 NEA Grant in Prose. He was the Spring 2014 Philip Roth Resident at Bucknell. He has received scholarships to MacDowell, Yaddo, VCCA, Sewanee, Bread Loaf, and The Arctic Circle Residency. His novel manuscript is about a female Polar Guard in the Norwegian Arctic.

Kirstin Chen's new novel, Bury What We Cannot Take, has been named a Most Anticipated Upcoming Book by Electric Literature, The Millions, The Rumpus, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle, among others. She is also the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners.

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of Safe as Houses and 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas. Awards include The Frank O'Connor International Story Fellowship in Cork, Ireland, The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, and The Iowa Prize. She teaches at NYU, The New School, and the Institute for American Indian Arts.

Mira Jacob is the author of the novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, which was shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, honored by the APALA, and named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions.

Katherine Hill


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center