R208. Reclaiming the Mine: Nonfiction Writers Explore Mining as Method and Metaphor

F152, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


What can we learn by stepping into the mine? What does it mean that the work of writing nonfiction is so often compared to excavation? What shapes can we make of the holes and fragments left by mining? What do bodies broken in pursuit of ore have to tell us? When does the unearthing we do as writers become unsustainable? Nonfiction writers with diverse connections to mining explore the payoffs and dangers of digging into a cultural and environmental inheritance.



Jessica Johnson’s In Absolutes We Seek Each Other was an Oregon Book Award finalist. She teaches creative nonfiction, poetry, and environmental literature at Portland Community College.

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the author of two books, My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode. She is an assistant professor at the Ohio State University.

Ander Monson is the author of eight books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including the forthcoming I Will Take the Answer and The Gnome Stories. He teaches at the University of Arizona and edits the magazine DIAGRAM, the website Essay Daily, and the New Michigan Press.

Katherine E. Standefer’s debut book, Lightning Flowers, was shortlisted for the 2018 J. Anthony Lukas Works-in-Progress Prize from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Her work won the 2015 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction and appears in The Best American Essays 2016.

Byron F. Aspaas is Diné. He earned a BFA and MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His work is scattered throughout various journals and anthologies. His clans are Red Running Water and is born for Bitter Water. He resides in Colorado Springs


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center