S306. Unrealism: The True Art of Fantastic Fiction

Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Saturday, March 30, 2019
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


What is often called “realism” in novels and stories is not “real.” The representation of time, the assertion of a unified self, the acceptance of factual reality are inevitably compromises in conventionally realistic work. Writing that flouts linear chronology, that incorporates myth, fable, or surreal flourishes, can also authoritatively depict what it feels like to live in the world. Four exceptional writers discuss the unreality of reality and the truth of the fantastic in their work.



Ethan Nosowsky is Editorial Director at Graywolf Press. He has edited books by Jeffery Renard Allen, Hilton Als, Deborah Baker, Geoff Dyer, Dave Eggers, J. Robert Lennon, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Manguso, Maggie Nelson, Max Porter, and Deb Olin Unferth among many others.

Kathryn Davis is the author of eight novels. She has been the recipient of the Kafka Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Katherine Anne Porter Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is Hurst Sr. Writer-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mark Doten is the author of two novels, Trump Sky Alpha and The Infernal. He was named in 2017 to Granta’s once-a-decade list “Best of Young American Novelists." He is the literary fiction editor at Soho Press and teaches in Columbia's MFA program.

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of National Book Award finalist story collection Her Body and Other Parties. Her writing has appeared in the New YorkerThe New York TimesGrantaTin HouseGuernicaThe BelieverMcSweeney's Quarterly ConcernBest American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere.

Lucy Corin


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center