F258. Beyond Rags to Riches: New Approaches to Writing About Class

AWP Bookfair Stage, Exhibit Halls D & E, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Friday, February 10, 2017
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Narratives about class often resort to familiar storylines: getting rich, dying trying, and becoming sanctified by poverty. The truth is more complex. Wealth and the lack of it shape lives, but those lives are also larger than their bank accounts and the assumptions that we make based upon them. Covering a range of genres, including fiction, literary criticism, and journalism, this panel will explore strategies for writing stories that reveal aspects of class that may be hidden in plain sight.



Michael Noll is the program director at the Writers' League of Texas and editor of Read to Write Stories. His book In the Beginning, Middle, and End: A Field Guide for Writing Fiction is forthcoming next fall. His work appears in the 2016 Best American Mystery Stories anthology.

Tristan Ahtone is an award-winning journalist and member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. He has worked as a door-to-door salesman, delivery driver, telemarketer, and busboy. Since 2008, Tristan has reported for The Newshour, National Native News, NPR, Vice, and Al Jazeera America.

Kelli Jo Ford's fiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review and Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, among others. She's been a Dobie Paisano Fellow, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant recipient, and SAR's Indigenous Writer in Residence. She's a member of the Cherokee Nation.

Rene S Perez II is the author of two books: Along These Highways, a short story collection, and Seeing Off the Johns. Both books were awarded the National Association of Chicana/Chicano Scholars Tejas FOCO awards for fiction and YA fiction, respectively. Perez teaches high school in Austin, Texas.

Natalia Sylvester is the author of Chasing the Sun and a forthcoming novel, Everyone Carries Their Own Water. She is a faculty member of the low-res MFA program at Regis University. Her work has appeared in Latina magazine, Writer's Digest, and NBCLatino.com. Her Twitter and Instagram handle is @NataliaSylv.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center