Writing Social Justice with Grace, Beauty, and Power

Rooms 345-346, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Friday, March 10, 2023
10:35 am to 11:50 am


In an age of endlessly distressing news, it can be difficult to make readers care about injustice, much less to write in an eloquent way that can move hearts. This panel of poets, novelists, and journalists will discuss how to write about urgent social justice issues such as racism, sexism, xenophobia, and the abuse of the powerless by the powerful. It will be a practical discussion about writing that eschews condescension and sensationalism and aims for elegance, beauty, and honesty.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Writing_Social_Justice_With_Grace_AWP_2023_Event.docx



Stephen O’Connor has published five books, including the novel, Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings, and the short story collection, Here Comes Another Lesson. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, and many other places.

Jessica Goudeau is the author of After the Last Border, which won the Lukas Book Prize, and We Were Illegal (forthcoming). She's written for the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Catapult, among other places. She teaches nonfiction at Wilkes University.

Helen Benedict, a professor at Columbia University, is the award-winning author of eight novels, including The Good Deed (forthcoming), Wolf Season (2017) and Sand Queen (2011). Her most recent nonfiction book is Map of Hope and Sorrow: Stories of Refugees Trapped in Greece (2022).

Rone Shavers

Christina Chiu


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center