R298. Tipping the Scales: Writing Women’s Lives in Biography & Historical Fiction

C124, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Biographer Megan Marshall says the fun in writing biography is the process the writer assumes in imagining she and her subject have “been through it all together.” The writer of historical fiction does the same but with a different set of rules. Why do we choose the forms we do? How do we do our subjects justice on the page? And why, as women, are we choosing to write about other women? Two biographers and two historical novelists discuss their choices and debate the craft of representation.



Margot Kahn is the author of Horses That Buck: The Story of Champion Bronc Rider Bill Smith, which won the High Plains Book Award, and coeditor of the anthology This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.

Elise Hooper is the author of two novels, The Other Alcott and Learning to See. She graduated from Middlebury College and has a MA from Seattle University's College of Education. Elise lives in Seattle where she teaches literature and history.

TaraShea Nesbit is the author of The Wives of Los Alamos, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize. Her essays are featured in GrantaThe Guardian, and Salon. Her second novel, Beheld, is forthcoming in 2020. She teaches at Miami University.

Hannah Kimberley is the author of A Woman’s Place Is at the Top: A Biography of Annie Smith Peck, Queen of the Climbers. Kimberley is currently working on recovering other important women from the footnotes of history, including a new line of women explorers in the Amazon jungle.

Megan Marshall is the author of Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. She is the Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor at Emerson College.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center