R274. Selfish, Sleepless, Self-Deprecating: Parents on Children and the Writing Life

E146, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Karl Ove Knausgård recently told an interviewer he's never composed so much as now, when the echoes of children fill his writing life: "You have to lower your self-criticism. You can't afford it." By contrast, Picador celebrated 16 writers' decisions not to have kids in a 2015 anthology that describes "meandering, sometimes agonizing paths." In what ways does this "choice" inform, constrain, even liberate working writers? Five parents offer Western perspectives from nonfiction and other genres.



Raul Benjamin Moreno teaches English at Clark College, advises student media at Washington State University Vancouver, and edits nonfiction for South Dakota Review. His essays and stories have been published by Quarterly West, The Normal School, Drunken Boat, and The Millions, among other outlets.

Steven Church, founding editor of The Normal School, is the author of six books of nonfiction, including Ultrasonic, One with the Tiger and I'm Just Getting to the Disturbing Part; he edited the essay anthology The Spirit of Disruption. He is the MFA Program Coordinator at Fresno State.

Elizebett (Liz) Eslinger (MPA, BA English) is Executive Director of Write Around Portland. She elevates underrepresented voices, builds community and creates social change through the power of writing. Liz is a new mom, essayist, poet and editor of Roads Less Traveled and Oregon Ghost Towns series.

Aaron Gilbreath has written essays for Harper's, Kenyon Review, Brick, Black Warrior Review, Paris Review, The New York Times, Southwest Review, and The Threepenny Review. An editor at Longreads, he is the author of This Is: Essays on Jazz and the personal essay collection Everything We Don't Know.

Erika Hayasaki is an associate professor in the Literary Journalism Program at UC Irvine. She is the author of The Death Class: A True Story About Life. She regularly writes features for The Atlantic and WIRED. She is also a 2018 Alicia Patterson Fellow.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center