A New Canon: Five Writers Remaking the American West

Room 2502A, Kansas City Convention Center, Level 2
Thursday, February 8, 2024
9:00 am to 10:15 am


The myth of the American West—a place to be tamed, dominated by narratives centering white men—is one of our most stubborn national fantasies. But five novelists are correcting the record. Their West is peopled with Black, Mexican, Asian, Indigenous, and Queer characters whose untold stories and unheard voices create a rich and complicated landscape that reflects the real American frontier as it was and is. We'll discuss research, resisting tropes, and fitting new stories into the canon.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Event_Outline_-_A_New_Canon_.pdf



Elizabeth Gonzalez James is the author of the novels Mona at Sea (SFWP, 2021) and The Bullet Swallower (Simon & Schuster, forthcoming 2023), and the chapbook Five Conversations About Peter Sellers (Texas Review Press, forthcoming 2023). She is currently the interviews editor at The Rumpus.

Tom Lin is the author of The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu, which won the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, among others. He is a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of California, Davis.

Lauren Francis-Sharma is the author of Book of the Little Axe, a Hurston Wright Award finalist, and 'Til the Well Runs Dry. She is the assistant director of Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, a MacDowell fellow, and serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Robin McLean's debut collection Reptile House won the BOA Editions Fiction Prize and was noted as one of the best books of 2015 in the Paris Review. She splits her time between the high plains desert of central Nevada and western Massachusetts where she teaches writing at Clark University.

Claudia Cravens grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a BA in literature from Bard College and is a graduate of Catapult's Twelve-Month Novel Generator. Lucky Red is her first novel.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center