S128. I Wouldn’t Go there if I Were You: Literary Journalism and the Craft of Writing Dangerous Places

Room 202B, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Saturday, February 11, 2017
9:00 am to 10:15 am


When writers of poetry, creative nonfiction, or fiction serve as overseas correspondents, the narratives they craft are deeply felt and unique. From travel and interpreters to notes and drafts, these writers ventured to the fringe to experience their stories. This panel explores how four writers chased curiosity into endangerment to bring back stunning portraits of war, disease, humanity, and environment in crisis and how they teach ways to write literary reportage in workshops and MFA programs.



Benjamin Busch served as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the United States Marine Corps, deploying twice to Iraq. He is the author of a memoir, Dust to Dust, and has published in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Five Points, and North American Review.

Jennifer Percy is the author of the nonfiction book Demon Camp, a New York Times Notable Book. Her essays have appeared in Harper's, Esquire, the New Republic, and the New York Times Magazine, where she is a regular contributor.

Elliot Ackerman is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Dark at the Crossing and Green on Blue. His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New Republic, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. He currently lives in Istanbul and writes on the Syrian Civil War.

Deni Ellis Béchard is the author of five books and has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Nautilus Book Awards Grand Prize. His novel, Into the Sun, is about the civilian surge in Afghanistan.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center