S115. Mining the Everyday: Using Real Life Experiences as Creative Research

A107-109, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Calling your mother. Watching a Hoarders marathon. Taking notes during a Jewish conversion class. Revisiting a childhood home. Research takes unexpected forms and comes to us in our everyday interactions. In this panel, you’ll get new ideas on what research is, how to conduct it, and how to use it to broaden the scope of an essay, memoir, or story. Panelists also discuss how to strike that just-right balance of research and narrative, one that captivates rather than overwhelms the reader.



Rajpreet Heir is a coordinator at TED and a writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, The Normal School, and The New York Times. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from George Mason University and writes about growing up Indian in Indiana.

Susanna Vander Vorste is a PhD candidate for literary nonfiction at the University of Cincinnati. Her work examines trauma, Midwestern culture, and the impact of meditation on people's daily lives. Her essays have appeared in Stoneboat, The Chariton Review, The Lindenwood Review, and The Rumpus.

Namrata Poddar writes fiction and nonfiction, and curates a series called "Race, Power, and Storytelling" as interviews editor for Kweli. Her debut collection of stories, Ladies Special, Homebound, was a finalist for Feminist Press's 2018 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize.

Kristen Iversen's work includes the books Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats; Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth; and Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. She teaches at University of Cincinnati and is Literary Nonfiction editor of The Cincinnati Review.

Emily Heiden is a PhD candidate at University of Cincinnati studying Literary Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Brevity Magazine, and Literary Hub. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from George Mason University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from The University of Iowa.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center