S171. In the Realms of the Real and the Unreal

AWP Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
Saturday, April 2, 2016
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


This panel explores genres of fiction that juxtapose the real and the unreal in experimental ways: historical fiction, literary fantasy/science fiction, weird fiction, and satire. Where do we draw the line between a secondary world and a distorted reflection of our own world's beauty, violence, and diversity? Can we discern a poetics of the unreal in contemporary fiction? How have the continual debates over generic boundaries—and/or their irrelevance—affected the ways contemporary writers work?



Katharine Beutner is an assistant professor of English at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Her novel Alcestis won the 2011 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and her writing has appeared in Public Books, TriQuarterly, the Toast, and other publications. She has an MA and a PhD from UT Austin.

Sofia Samatar is the author of the novel A Stranger in Olondria. She coedits the journal Interfictions and teaches literature at California State University Channel Islands.

Carmen Maria Machado is a fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has appeared in the New YorkerGrantaNPRBest American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015VICE, and elsewhere. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop.

Alice Sola Kim's fiction has recently been published or is forthcoming in Tin House, McSweeney's Literary Quarterly, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and the recipient of a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation.

Kelly Link is the author of Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and the forthcoming collection Get in Trouble. Her short stories have appeared in Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. With Gavin J. Grant, she runs Small Beer Press.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center