Writing the Real West: Diverse, Urban, and Contemporary

Rooms 338-339, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Saturday, March 11, 2023
9:00 am to 10:15 am


For decades, little fiction about the American West featured the urban West—the cities and suburbs where the majority of people in this region live. Instead, Western literary fiction overwhelmingly focused on white, rural, or historical stories. But in recent years, as publishers finally began to support more ethnically and culturally diverse writers, they also began to promote geographic diversity. We will discuss how these writers are changing or fitting into the Western literary tradition.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Shank_WritingRealWest_Outline.pdf



Jenny Shank's story collection Mixed Company won the Colorado Book Award and George Garrett Prize. Her novel The Ringer won the High Plains Book Award. Her writing appears in The Atlantic, McSweeney's, Poets & Writers, and Washington Post. She is a member of the NBCC and the Mile-High MFA faculty.

Jonathan Evison is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels: All About Lulu, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, West of Here, and most recently, Lawn Boy.

Leland Cheuk is the author of three books of fiction, most recently No Good Very Bad Asian. His work as appeared in the Washington Post, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, and elsewhere. He runs the indie press 7.13 Books.

Erika T. Wurth’s novel White Horse was published with Flatiron/Macmillan. She's a Kenyon and Sewanee fellow, and narrative artist for the Meow Wolf Denver. She's represented by Rebecca Friedman (books) and Dana Spector, CA (film). She's an urban Native of Apache / Chickasaw / Cherokee descent.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center