R205. What's Missing: How Absence Can Drive Narrative

F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


A diverse group of fiction and memoir writers discuss the importance of what’s narratively not present—a missing parent, lost object, or unexpressed feeling—as a major theme in literature, and a creative spark in their own work, shaping plot, character, imagery, and dialogue. Panelists will offer examples from well-known books, share brief excerpts from their writing, and provide innovative craft techniques to illustrate how a focus on what’s missing can be transformative.



Laurie Ann Doyle's new book World Gone Missing was nominated for the California Book Award and praised for delivering “powerful portrayals of people desiring connection, hope, and renewal.” She is winner of the Alligator Juniper Fiction Prize and teaches writing at UC Berkeley.

Louise Nayer is the author of five books of poetry and non-fiction. A writing workshop leader and retired community college professor, her book Burned: A Memoir won the Wisconsin Library Association Award for memoir and was an Oprah Great Read.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras is the author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree, a Barnes & Noble Summer 2018 Discover Great New Writers selection. She is the book columnist for KQED, the Bay Area's NPR affiliate.

Eleanor Vincent is the author of the memoir Swimming with Maya, a New York Times e-book bestseller and finalist for the Independent Publisher of the Year award. A creative nonfiction teacher at the San Francisco Writer's Grotto, she was a visiting writer at Mills College.

Lyzette Wanzer has received writing residencies at the Blue Mountain Center (New York) and KHN Center for the Arts (Nebraska). She is the recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from Center for Cultural Innovation (2012) and an IAC grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission (2013).


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center