F228. Bravery and Bearing Witness: The Power of Vulnerability in Nonfiction

Room L100 J, Lower Level
Friday, April 10, 2015
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Reader response to scenarios where a writer has made herself vulnerable on the page often manifests itself as “Wow, you’re brave!” The writer, however, may not feel anything close to brave. Is it bravery we’re feeling when we tell our stories? Do we need courage to bear witness? Is it enough to share a personal story, or is there more at stake in the writing process? Panelists will speak to the power of vulnerability and necessity of craft in writing to transform the self and the culture.



Sarah M. Wells is the author of Pruning Burning Bushes and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce. Her essays appear in Ascent, Brevity, River Teeth, and elsewhere. Three of her essays have been listed as notable in Best American Essays.

Bonnie J. Rough is the author of the 2011 Minnesota Book Award-winning memoir Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA. She teaches in the Ashland University low-residency MFA program in nonfiction, and she is a prose editor for Versal. She lives in Seattle.

Kate Hopper is the author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. She teaches writing online and at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. She has been the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship and a Sustainable Arts Foundation grant. 

Marilyn Bousquin is the founder of Writing Women’s Lives, where she teaches memoir writing and mindfulness. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in River Teeth, and she was a finalist for AROHO’s Orlando Prize for Creative Nonfiction 2013. She also teaches at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Brenda Miller is the author of three essay collections, and co-author of Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction and The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. Her work has received six Pushcart Prizes. She teaches English at Western Washington University.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center