S194. Agents of Change: The Activist Protagonist

D136, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Given the explosive political climate in the US today, from Charlottesville to #MeToo and beyond, many writers are seeking a way to take a stand with their work. But while nonfiction writers might grapple with political issues directly, fiction writers must be more oblique or run the risk of appearing didactic. In this panel, five award-winning authors discuss the protagonist as activist—a character not just in the process of change but in the process of trying to change the world.



Susan DeFreitas is the author of the novel Hot Season, which won a Gold IPPY Award. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in a wide range of journals, magazines, and anthologies. She is an editor and book marketing strategist with Indigo Editing, as well as an instructor at LitReactor.

Rene Denfeld is the bestselling author of The Enchanted and The Child Finder, novels inspired by her work on death row and with sex trafficking victims. Her work has won numerous prestigious awards.

Julia Stoops is the author of Parts per Million. Originally from New Zealand, she has received Oregon Arts Commission fellowships for visual arts and literature, and was a resident at the Ucross Foundation in 2016.

Aya De Leon directs Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley. The next book in her award-winning Justice Hustlers series of feminist heist novels is Side Chick Nation, about the hurricane in Puerto Rico. She blogs about race, gender and culture at ayadeleon.com.

Cari Luna is the author of The Revolution of Every Day, which won the 2015 Oregon Book Award for Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Salon, Jacobin, Electric Literature, Catapult, The Rumpus, PANK, and elsewhere.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center