R262. More Than a Witness: Writing Social Change

C123, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


An increasing body of literature not only blurs the boundaries between art and activism, but also transcends our most basic assumptions about what role writers might play in an unjust world. Creative nonfiction—a genre driven by truth and change—is particularly well suited to not only bear witness to injustice, but also to move readers to confront the worst societal wrongs. These writers discuss how they read, teach, write, and publish work that calls us to the art of social change.



Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based professor, curator, activist, and is author of the essay collection The Reckonings, the widely-acclaimed memoir The Other Side, and Trespasses: A Memoir. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University.

V.V. Ganeshananthan's debut novel, Love Marriage, was long-listed for the Orange Prize and named one of Washington Post Book World's Best of 2008. Her work has appeared in Granta and The New York Times, among others. She teaches at the University of Minnesota, and she was a 2014 NEA and Radcliffe Fellow.

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson. He is a Professor English and Creative Writing at University of Mississippi and is the author of Long Division and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. His memoir Heavy is forthcoming from Scribner in October 2018.

Wendy S. Walters is the author of Multiply/Divide: Essays on the American Real and Surreal and two books of poetry: Troy, Michigan and Longer I Wait, More You Love Me. She is Associate Dean of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons, The New School.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder & A Memoir, which received a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and the Chautauqua Prize, and was named one of the best books of 2017 by The GuardianEntertainment Weekly, and Audible.com. She is an assistant professor at Bowdoin.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center