F128. Happy Endings that Won’t Jerk You Around

Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2
Friday, February 28, 2014
9:00 am to 10:15 am


While stories of hope are often derided as contrived or suspected of emotional manipulation in workshops, they are in actuality some of the hardest to write. How do we instill glimmers of hope while remaining true to realism? How do we avoid sentimentality while still allowing a positive outcome for our characters? Five writers discuss the concept of the happy ending in contemporary and classic novels and stories and talk about their own approaches to crafting the final movements of their work.



Ian Stansel is the author of the story collection Everybody’s Irish. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Salon, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from the University of Houston, where he edited Gulf Coast.

Amber Dermont is the author of The New York Times best-selling novel, The Starboard Sea, and the short story collection, Damage Control.

Danielle Evans is the author of the short-story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, a co-winner of the 2011 PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize for a first book and a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection. She teaches in the MFA program at American University.

Rebecca Makkai’s first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut of 2011, and her short fiction was chosen for The Best American Short Stories in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. She has just completed her second novel, The Ghosts, and she teaches at StoryStudio Chicago and Lake Forest College.

Kyle Minor is the author of two collections of short fiction, In the Devil's Territory and Praying Drunk. His work appears in the Southern Review, the Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Best American Mystery Stories 2008, and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013. He teaches at IUPUI.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center