R214. Some of My Best Friends Are Octavia Butler and Ursula K. LeGuin: Genre Bias in the Creative Writing Workshop

Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Thursday, February 9, 2017
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Many fiction professors were trained to write and teach something called "literary short fiction," realism plus George Saunders. In contrast, many of our students wish to write fantasy and other "genre" stories for young adults. This panel assembles teaching fiction writers with varied genre affiliations to discuss building a more inclusive workshop, acknowledging that snobbery is not sound pedagogy and that a bad fantasy story is not necessarily worse than a bad realist one. Right?



Mary Stewart Atwell is the author of the novel Wild Girls. Her short fiction has appeared in journals including Epoch and Alaska Quarterly Review, and in the anthologies Best New American Voices and Best American Mystery Stories. She teaches creative writing at Virginia Military Institute.

Asali Solomon is the author of Disgruntled. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for the stories later collected in Get Down, her first book. In 2007, she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Solomon teaches fiction writing and literature at Haverford College.

Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill. Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and she traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an MA in creative writing from University of Cape Town. She is currently the visiting writer at Amherst College.

Chris Gavaler has published two novels, School for Tricksters and Pretend I’m Not Here, and a pop culture study, On the Origin of Superheroes. He is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center