F119. Where Witness Meets the Page: Why We Write What We Write

Room 609, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Friday, February 28, 2014
9:00 am to 10:15 am


To bear witness to atrocity through fiction implies a commitment to both narrative and truth. In the social media age, atrocity often reaches us in 140-character packages. Conversely, witness literature focuses a wide narrative lens on the subject. Why write fiction over nonfiction? What moral and ethical questions do writers confront along the way? How do craft and truth intersect? Five authors with varying degrees of closeness to their subjects discuss how they bear witness through fiction.



Naomi Benaron’s novel Running The Rift won the 2010 Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. A Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She teaches through UCLA Writers' Extension and mentors for the Afghan Women's Writing Project.

Lorraine Adams is a Pulitzer winner and the author of two novels, Harbor and The Room and the Chair. She was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow to support the writing of her current novel.

Nayomi Munaweera's debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was long listed for the Man Asian Literary Award and is currently short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize. It will be available in the US in early 2014.

Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan and American writer whose political and creative work appears internationally. Her novels, A Disobedient Girl and On Sal Mal Lane, are published in English and in translation. She is a national speaker and writes for The Huffington Post.

Julie Wu


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Washington State Convention Center