F120. The Vein of Jade: What a Single Detail can Reveal in Nonfiction

Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Friday, February 10, 2017
9:00 am to 10:15 am


"When the vein of jade/is revealed in the rock,"  Lu Chi writes in his classic The Art of Writing, "the whole mountain glistens." Likewise, a single detail can reveal the meaning and mystery of a scene, an essay, or a book. Practitioners of various nonfiction forms, from journalism to hybrid, each choose a particular detail from a well-regarded nonfiction and show how it becomes—by its context, its imagery, its power to—the vein of jade that allows the whole to glisten.



Michael Downs is the author of The Greatest Show: Stories, and House of Good Hope, which won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize. He has received fellowships from the NEA and the Maryland State Arts Council. He teaches creative writing at Towson University.

Angie Chuang is a nonfiction writer and an associate professor of journalism at American University. Her first book, The Four Words for Home, tells the braided immigrant stories of an Afghan American family after 9/11 and her own Chinese American one. She was a newspaper reporter for thirteen years.

Michael Steinberg is founding editor of Fourth Genre. Still Pitching won the ForeWord Magazine/Independent Press Memoir of the Year. The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction (with Bob Root) is in a 6th edition. He's nonfiction writer in residence in the Solstice MFA program.

Marion Winik is the author of The Glen Rock Book of the Dead and First Comes Love, among others. She is a professor at the University of Baltimore, reviews books for Newsday and Kirkus, writes a column at BaltimoreFishbowl.com, and was a longtime commentator for NPR. Her website is marionwinik.com.

Joe Mackall


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center