Ghosts, Portals, and Other Worlds: The Surreal in Contemporary Fiction

Wednesday, March 8, 2023
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm


Writers of literary fiction often find the boundaries between the possible and impossible in their work disintegrating in strange, unexpected ways. What gives rise to this shift, and how do we navigate the surreal in our lives and work? How can models like Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, and George Saunders guide us? What techniques can help bring the speculative to life in a compelling and convincing manner? Acclaimed authors who’ve explored these questions will share insights and advice.

This event has been prerecorded, and will be available to watch on-demand online from March 8, 2023 to April 8, 2023.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: OUTLINE__Ghosts,_Portals,_Otherworlds__The_Surreal_in_Contemporary_Fiction.pdf
Supplemental Document 1: READING_LIST__Ghosts,_Portals,_Otherworlds_(AWP23_panel)_(1).pdf



Joy Baglio's fiction appears in Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. A recipient of  fellowships from Yaddo, Bread Loaf, The Elizabeth George Foundation, and Vermont Studio Center, she is the founder of Pioneer Valley Writers' Workshop.

Matthew Lansburgh's collection of linked stories, Outside Is the Ocean, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 30th Annual Lambda Literary Award and the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction. He has received fellowships from Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Yaddo, and MacDowell.

Laura van den Berg is the author of two novels, most recently The Third Hotel, and two story collections. Her third collection, I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, is forthcoming. Her honors include the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, and an O. Henry Award

Kevin Brockmeier has published nine books of (mostly) fiction, including, most recently, a collection of 100 very short stories called The Ghost Variations. His work has been translated into eighteen languages. He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and he lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jennifer Pullen is an assistant professor of creative writing at Ohio Northern University (PhD Ohio University, MFA Eastern Washington University). She has a chapbook, A Bead of Amber on Her Tongue with Omnidawn Press. Her textbook, Writing Fantasy Fiction, is upcoming from Bloomsbury Academic.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center