R114. Daydreaming at the Mini-Mart: The Suburbs and Literary Imagination

Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Thursday, February 27, 2014
9:00 am to 10:15 am


From self-storage yards to auto-parts stores, from high school parking lots to strip malls, much of the American landscape exists in places usually considered banal, but where life is often at its most vivid. Families and money move easily through these marginal landscapes, and so should the literary imagination. Novelists, nonfiction writers, and poets discuss how their imaginations engage with the sprawling edges.



Tom Zoellner is an associate professor of English at Chapman University and the author of four nonfiction books, including the recently published Train: Riding the Routes that Created the Modern World.

Dana Johnson is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Elsewhere, California.

David McGlynn is the author of the story collection, The End of the Straight and Narrow, and the memoir, A Door in the Ocean. His stories and essays have appeared in Men’s Health, The Huffington Post, Best American Sports Writing, and in numerous literary journals.

Michael Downs has published two books including The Greatest Show: Stories, and House of Good Hope, which won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize. He has received fellowships from the NEA and the Maryland State Arts Council. He teaches creative writing at Towson University.

Erika Meitner is the author of four books of poems, including Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls; Ideal Cities, which was a 2009 National Poetry Series winner; and the forthcoming collection Copia. She is an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she teaches in the MFA program.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center