R242. Five Writers Walk into a Bar: Using Humor in Fiction

Room 301, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level
Thursday, March 5, 2020
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


Humor is an effective tool for communicating shared truths about the human experience in an accessible way. But too much humor, especially in literary works, can quickly feel heavy-handed or counterproductive. The best writers of funny fiction balance levity with poignancy, the absurd with the humane. Our panel will examine a range of literary texts that use humor effectively and discuss strategies and exercises to hone our abilities to identify what’s funny, and what’s extraneous, in our work.



Cara Blue Adams’s fiction appears in GrantaAmerican Short FictionKenyon Review, and Epoch. A 2018-19 Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow, she has been awarded the Kenyon Review Short Fiction Prize and the Missouri Review Peden Prize. She is an assistant professor at Seton Hall University.

Danielle Evans is the author of the short-story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, winner of the PEN Bingham Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Selection. She teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

Kristen Arnett is a queer fiction and essay writer. She's held several writing fellowships and was Ninth Letter's Literary Award winner in fiction. She is the author of Felt in the Jaw, a story collection which won the Coil Book Award. Her debut novel, Mostly Dead Things, is forthcoming.

Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of My Time Among the Whites, Make Your Home Among Strangers, and How to Leave Hialeah. Her work has received numerous awards, and her novel has been an all-campus/first-year read at over twenty-five colleges. She works as an associate professor at the University of Nebraska.

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre, Touch, I Am Having So Much Fun Here without You, and the forthcoming humor guide for writers Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting and Surviving Your First Book. Find her online at courtneymaum.com


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center