F229. The Personal Political Essay

D131-132, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Friday, March 29, 2019
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


What is the role of the personal political essay in our time? Our panel will discuss the generally accepted idea that personal essays are a nuanced witnessing that resists political certainty, but we will also consider the riskier possibility of an explicitly political personal essay—in the tradition of "Civil Disobedience,” "Notes of a Native Son," and "The Clan of One-Breasted Women”—that goes beyond a literature of witness to a literature of commitment.



Steven Harvey is the author of a memoir, The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, and three collections of personal essays including A Geometry of Lilies. Two of his essays have been selected for The Best American Essays: “The Book of Knowledge” in 2013 and “The Other Steve Harvey” in 2018.

Phillip Lopate has written over twenty books, most recently, Portrait Inside My Head, To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction and A Mother's Tale. He has also edited the anthology Art of the Personal Essay, and is a MFA nonfiction professor at Columbia University.

Mimi Schwartz’s books include When History Is Personal, Good Neighbors, Bad Times, Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed, and Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, coauthored with Sondra Perl. 

Joe Mackall is the author of Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish and the memoir The Last Street Before Cleveland. He is co-founder and -editor of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and on NPR's "Morning Edition."


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center