S179. We Were Never Meant to Survive: Writing About People Who Do Anyway

A105, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


The line from Audre Lorde’s poem rings—clangs!—true for many writers who are telling stories about characters facing unlikely futures. This panel addresses the challenge of writing about literal and cultural survival. How do writers tell the truth about racism, xenophobia, and homophobia without overwhelming our work or our readers? How do we find the necessary detail amid the weight of the threats? How do we balance truth-telling with hope? How can we create writing that celebrates survival?


Allen Gee currently holds the Donald L. Jordan Endowed Professorship in creative writing at Columbus State University. He is the Editor of 2040 Books, a multicultural imprint, and is the author of My Chinese-America. His essays and stories have appeared in numerous journals.

Jerry Thompson is a violinist, playwright, and poet. He is the coauthor of Black Artists in Oakland, and owned Black Spring Books, an independent bookstore. He is the coeditor of Oakland Noir and Berkeley Noir. His work has appeared in Zyzzyva and James White Review.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s most recent novel is The Evolution of Love. Her story collection, Lava Falls, was published in Fall 2018. Her fiction has won a Yaddo fellowship, the Arts & Letters Prize, a California Arts Council Award, an ALA Stonewall Award, and two National Science Foundation Writer Fellowships.

Devi S. Laskar has worked as a newspaper reporter covering crime and politics in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Illinois and Hawaii. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, and an MA in South Asian Studies from UIUC, is a published poet and will publish her debut novel in February 2019.

Wo Chan is a nonbinary drag performer and poet. They have received awards from the New York Foundation of Arts, Kundiman, and the Asian American Writers Workshop. They are a member of Brooklyn-based drag/burlesque collective Switch N’ Play and currently an MFA Candidate in Poetry at NYU.


March 27–30, 2019
Portland, OR

Oregon Convention Center