S163. This is Not Your Country: Creating Characters Outside the Landscape of Our Lives

Room 303, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
Saturday, March 1, 2014
10:30 am to 11:45 am


To whom does the literary landscape belong? Memoirs of a Geisha, The Education of Little Tree, Patty's memoir within Freedom: who gets to write about the female experience, indigenous people, an ethnicity or religion not the writer's own? There are ethical considerations, yes, when memoirists speak for others, when fiction characters' lives are quite unlike their creator's personal history, but should there be taboos? Or is the quality of the writing what truly matters in our interwoven world?



Q Lindsey Barrett, assistant fiction editor of Hunger Mountain, is a writing teacher, conference speaker, and member of the National Book Critics Circle. She received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College. Her work appears in Drunken Boat, Wordstock Ten, and Los Angeles Review.

Caitlin Horrocks is author of the story collection This Is Not Your City. Her work appears in the New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Fiction editor of the Kenyon Review, she teaches at Grand Valley State University.

Donna Miscolta is the author of the novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced. Her short story manuscript has been a runner-up for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award and a finalist for the Grace Paley Prize. Her work was selected for inclusion in New California Writing 2013.

Benjamin Drevlow is the author of a collection of autobiographical short stories called Bend with the Knees and Other Love Advice from My Father, winner of 2006 Many Voices Project. He teaches composition at Georgia Southern University.

Sharisse Smith is a writer and has an MFA in nonfiction from The New School. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Ebony, Babble, Salon, and The Los Angeles Review.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center