VIRTUAL: When Essays Become Books: the Ins and Outs of Creating Collections

Wednesday, February 7, 2024
9:00 am to 10:00 am


Essays are a popular genre, and sometimes essayists consider turning their work into a collection. The thought of taking essays and forming a book can feel daunting and perhaps intimidating. What order and structure? Which essays belong? Do I have enough essays for a book? What about previously-published work? Is there pressure to categorize essay collections as memoir? In this session, panelists will discuss the ins and outs of creating essay collections—from initial idea to published work.

This virtual event was prerecorded. It will be available to watch on-demand online starting on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 through Thursday, March 7, 2024.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: WhenEssaysBecomeBooks_AWP24_Outline.pdf



Patrice Gopo writes stories steeped in themes of place, belonging, and home. She is the author of two essay collections, Autumn Song and All the Colors We Will See. Her debut picture book, All the Places We Call Home, is based on one of her essays. Please visit patricegopo.com to learn more.

Grace Talusan's first book, The Body Papers, won the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction. She teaches in the nonfiction writing program at Brown University.

Theresa Okokon is a Wisconsinite living in New England. She's is a writer, a storyteller, teacher, and the cohost of Stories From the Stage. Theresa's forthcoming memoir in essays about memory, family stories, and the death of her father is called The Okokon Family Orchestra.

Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a multigenre writer, a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, and the 2019–2021 Houston Poet Laureate. She is the winner of the 2022 C&R Press Nonfiction Prize for From the Womb of Sky and Earth, a lyrical memoir.

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. She is the author of the collection Be with Me Always and the editor of the lyric essay anthology A Harp in the Stars. She is the founding editor of the literary magazine After the Art and teaches in the MFA programs at Goucher and West Virginia Wesleyan.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center