S221. Please Mind the Gap: Innovative Approaches to Writing Historical Figures

Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2
Saturday, March 1, 2014
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


The past, says Jessamyn West, is as much a work of the imagination as the future. Inspired by writers like Italo Calvino and Anne Carson, the writers on this panel embrace the fragmented nature of history and approach the depiction of historical figures more as collagists than as traditional portraitists. Panelists share literary examples, research strategies, and practical methods for portraying famous and obscure historical figures in prose, in poetry, and in the classroom.



Kelcey Parker is the author of For Sale By Owner, a story collection, and Liliane's Balcony, a novella set at Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. Her current project is a collage biography of the Czech fairy tale writer Bozena Nemcova. She teaches at Indiana University South Bend.

Caitlin Horrocks is author of the story collection This Is Not Your City. Her work appears in the New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. She is fiction editor of the Kenyon Review and teaches at Grand Valley State University.

Kathleen Rooney, a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, is the author of three books of nonfiction and three books of poetry, the latest of which, Robinson Alone, is a novel in poems based on the life and work of Weldon Kees. Her debut novel, O, Democracy!, is forthcoming this spring.

Gretchen E. Henderson is the author of two novels, The House Enters the Street and Galerie de Difformité: a book that is collaboratively (de)forming across media. Her nonfiction and poetry collections include On Marvellous Things Heard and Wreckage. She is writing a cultural history of ugliness.

Cathy Day is the author of two books: The Circus in Winter and Comeback Season. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ninth Letter, PANK, and the Millions. She teaches fiction writing at both the graduate and undergraduate level, most recently at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center