Autobiographical Fiction: Writing about Trauma, Memory, Identity, and Survival

Room 2505AB, Kansas City Convention Center, Level 2
Thursday, February 8, 2024
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Five prize-winning authors will lead a discussion on crafting autobiographical novels/stories versus memoirs/personal essays. They will talk about the differences and similarities between fiction and nonfiction, what determines a writer’s initial narrative choice, and the challenges writers encounter while writing from their own experiences about cultural heritage, trauma, disability, violence, and sexual abuse.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_2024--Event_Outline:Autofiction--K._Gorcheva-Newberry_.pdf



K. Gorcheva-Newberry won a Prairie Schooner Prize for her first story collection, What Isn't Remembered, long-listed for the PEN/Bingham Prize and short-listed for the Saroyan International Prize. Her debut novel, The Orchard, was picked by New York Post among the best books of 2022, a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize.

Jeffrey Dale Lofton is the author of Red Clay Suzie, awarded the Seven Hills Literary Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Center for Fiction 2023 First Novel Prize. He is a senior advisor at the Library of Congress and cohosts a podcast, Inside Voices, that showcases all things literary.

Chris Dennis is the author of Here Is What You Do. His work has appeared in the Paris Review, Playgirl, McSweeney's, Granta, LitHub, Guernica, and Best American Essays. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, the Krause Essay Prize, and a New York Times Sidney Award for long-form journalism.

Sasha Vasilyuk is a journalist and author of the debut novel Your Presence is Mandatory, which will be out in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, and Brazil in April 2024. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, TIME, Harper's Bazaar, Los Angeles Times, Narrative, and USA Today.

Maria Kuznetsova


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center