Where the Living Sit Talking About the Dead

Room 2103A, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
10:35 am to 11:50 am


The pandemic was a collective experience of profound loss. Death is ubiquitous, yet the topic is avoided on the page and in life. What do we fear? Five acclaimed authors who think alongside the topic in genre-transcending ways that manifest as poem-films, martyrs, spirit lands, encyclopedias, and aliens, discuss why rendering death is crucial; its surprising humors, responsibilities, and joys. Their combined perspective includes social workers, poets, literacy researchers, and a death doula.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: T139_Event_Outline.pdf



Marie-Helene Bertino's new novel Beautyland is available now! She is the author of Parakeet, Safe as Houses, and 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas. Honors include the O. Henry Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellowship in Ireland. She teaches at Yale University.

Dr. Brandon Hobson is the author of five books. His novel Where the Dead Sit Talking was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and UCROSS. Hobson is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and teaches at New Mexico State and IAIA.

Diana Khoi Nguyen is a poet, multimedia artist, and author of Ghost Of (Omnidawn 2018), as well as a recipient of a 2021 NEA fellowship. A Kundiman fellow, she is core faculty in the Randolph College low-residency MFA and an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Kristin Keane is the author of An Encyclopedia of Bending Time and Luminaries. Her writing has appeared in/at the Washington Post, Ploughshares, New England Review, Creative Nonfiction, The Handbook of Educational Thinkers, and elsewhere. She earned a PhD from Stanford University.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center