Our First Universe: The Aesthetics of Home in Fiction

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


Five fiction writers from geographically far-flung homes discuss how our writing is influenced by where we grew up. These iconic places affect motif, rhythm, imagery, even the color palette of our prose. But how do writers embrace stylistic fingerprints without being limited by them? Bachelard says, “The house is our corner of the world. It is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word.” We’ll offer practical ways to seek new universes without abandoning the aesthetics of home.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: panel_outline_our_first_universe_.docx



Miciah Bay Gault's debut novel is Goodnight Stranger (Park Row Books, 2019). She is faculty in the MFA in writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and coordinator of the Vermont Book Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, Southern Review, Agni, Harvard Review, Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, and the New York Times.

Robin MacArthur is the author of Half Wild Stories (winner of the PEN/New England Award and a finalist for the New England Book Award), and the novel Heart Spring Mountain. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Orion Magazine and lives on the farm where she was born in Vermont.

Adam McOmber is the author of four queer speculative novels as well as three collections of short stories. He is the chair of the MFA writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and editor-in-chief of Hunger Mountain Review.

Samuel Kọ́láwọlé is an assistant professor of English and African studies at Pennsylvania State University, where he teaches fiction. He is also a member of the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Art's low-residency MFA in writing. His fiction has appeared in several publications. HarperCollins will publish his novel.

Michelle Ross is the author of three story collections: There's So Much They Haven't Told You, Shapeshifting, and They Kept Running. Her work is included in Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, the Wigleaf Top 50, and the Norton anthology, Flash Fiction America. She is editor of 100 Word Story.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center