R224. Writing the Hyphen: How to Explore, Not Exploit, Your Background

Room 503, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Thursday, March 31, 2016
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Writers of diverse backgrounds serve as ambassadors to unfamiliar cultures and underheard voices. But if you are speaking for your culture or race, do you have an obligation to portray it in a positive light? And will you be forced, as a “hyphenated author,” to repeatedly relive your autobiography? Panelists speak frankly about their success and ambivalence as spokespeople, and discuss how to successfully explore, not exploit, their ethnic, nationalist, and gender identities.



Allison Amend is the award-winning author of the short story collection Things That Pass for Love, and the novels Stations West, A Nearly Perfect Copy, and the forthcoming Enchanted Islands.

Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, and the editor of Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity. Carter is visiting assistant professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University.

Pauls Toutonghi

Mira Jacob is the author of the novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, which was shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, honored by the APALA, and named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and the Millions.

Danielle Evans is the author of the short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. She teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center