Staying in Key: Recognizing & Avoiding the False Notes of Anachronism

Thursday, March 24, 2022
9:00 am to 10:00 am


Unless you’re writing in an intentionally anachronistic form, like steampunk, you probably know better than to allow your Victorian characters to refer to fax machines or the Beatles. But staying in key involves more than historical and technological accuracy—especially if you write cross-cultural fiction. This panel discusses the many hidden dimensions of anachronism and how to avoid their false notes.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_2022_EVENT_OUTLINE-_Staying_in_Key.pdf



Aimee Liu is the author of the novels Glorious Boy, Flash House, Cloud Mountain, and Face. Her nonfiction includes the memoirs Gaining and Solitaire. Her bestsellers have been published in more than a dozen countries. She teaches in Goddard College's MFA program in creative writing.

Keenan Norris is a novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His latest novel is The Confession of Copeland Cane. His short work has appeared in numerous forums, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, and Alta. He teaches at San Jose State University.

Jennifer Steil is a novelist, memoirist, and journalist. She is the author of Exile Music, which won the Grand Prize in the Eyelands 2020 Book Awards and is a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Lesbian Fiction Award; the novel The Ambassador’s Wife; and the memoir The Woman Who Fell From the Sky.

Donna Hemans is the author of two novels: River Woman and Tea by the Sea. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Slice, Crab Orchard Review, Witness, Ploughshares, and Ms. Magazine, among others. She is the owner of DC Writers Room, a coworking studio for writers, and an editor at Pree.

Janet Benton's novel Lilli de Jong is the diary of an unwed Quaker in 1883 Philadelphia who fights to keep her baby despite fierce prejudice. She has taught writing at five universities and in private workshops for decades and has been an editor and mentor to hundreds of writers. janetbentonauthor.com


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center