R271. Chronic Illness and the Writer

E141-142, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Chronic illness, whether mental or physical, puts writers into nebulous territory. These largely invisible disabilities present unique issues. How do physical limitations and mental afflictions curtail productivity? How does the reality of illness show up on our pages? How do cultural attitudes toward chronic illness push writers to go beyond their limits in effort to prove that they’re not constrained or defined solely by their maladies?



Noley Reid is author of the novels Pretend We Are Lovely and In the Breeze of Passing Things and the story collection So There!. Her essays and fiction appear in the Rumpus, Bustle, the Lily, Tin House, and LitHub. She is a freelance writer and editor.

Ilana Masad is a queer Israeli-American fiction writer, essayist, and book critic. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Times, Bitch magazine, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and more. She is the founder and host of The Other Stories podcast.

Nafissa Thompson-Spires is the author of the forthcoming short story collection Heads of the Colored People and a forthcoming novel. Her fiction has appeared in various literary magazines. She teaches creative writing and TV studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign.

Lorraine Berry reviews books for Signature Reads and The Guardian. Her work has appeared places such as LitHub, Diagram, Flavorwire, Marie Claire, Redbook, and ReWire. She has contributed radio stories to Snap Judgment and Definitely Not the Opera. She and her partner own amberSands Creative.

Emma Smith-Stevens is the author of the novel The Australian. She has taught creative writing at the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and most recently with the Bard Prison Initiative. Her fiction, essays, humor, and interviews have appeared widely in print and online.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center