Whenever we sit down to write, we make choices – What should we write about? How should you write it? Where should it be set? Where should the story start? Should the poem take on a specific form?
The more we write, the more the questions become compounded. Queer writers, for example, may wonder about the nature of queering characters – must we always “queer” them? Or are those characters “queer enough”? Others may wonder about the “ethics and politics” of writing about family members, particularly when those family members are “politically vulnerable.” And what about when you want to break away from your own identity and write outside your own race, gender, or ethnicities? As one panel puts it, our personal “experiences (re)shape and complicate our writing both in terms of form and subject.” The questions, as you can see, are seemingly endless.
Lucky for us that these 5 panels offer up some answers (or at least promise some insightful discussion!):
For queer writers, creating a queer character is a political act that involves conscious decisions and unexpected obstacles. How can we tell when our characters are too queer or not queer enough? What other complications may arise when we try to define our audience and their expectations? How do we choose to out ourselves and our characters in our work? This panel considers the politics of queering characters within fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Panelists: Samantha Tetangco (that’s me!), Marisa P. Clark, Lisa D. Chavez, Lori Ostlund, Jervon Perkins
Details: Thursday, 10:30 am to 11:45 am, Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
As fiction writers, we often feel pressure to write inside the confines our own experience, as defined by our ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and so on. This panel explores the edges and interstices of that pressure. In what contexts is it acceptable to write outside such confines? In what contexts is it not? What does “diversity” mean when creating a fictional world? As writers, who has cultural permission to press past the confines of one’s own identity? Panelists: Bich Minh Nguyen Nguyen, Luis Alberto Urrea, Kelly Luce, Rob Spillman, Christian Kiefer
Details: Thursday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm, Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Do gender stereotypes influence literary tastes? Does a love poem from a male-identified poet seem more tender because it defies common gender assumptions? Does a critique from a female-identified writer feel more barbed for the same reason? What about writers whose identities or work blur society’s imposed gender distinctions? Join this panel as we explore whether we value writing more or less because of the perceived gender of the author, including how that may affect publishing decisions. Panelists: Jill McCabe Johnson, Kevin Clark, SJ Sindu, Viannah Duncan, Martha Amore.
Details: Saturday, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm, 2017 Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
This cross-genre panel—comprised of writers who identify, previously identified, or live(d) as male—considers how we, as trans folk, gender nonconforming individuals, and/or cis men have experienced and challenged our relationships to masculinity. To explore how these experiences (re)shape and complicate our writing both in terms of form and subject, each panelist reads some pertinent work and comments on the roles their (dis)affiliations with masculinity played in shaping it. Panelists: Charlie Bondhus, Michael V. Smith, Jarrett Neal, CJ Southworth, Joy Ladin
Details: Saturday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm, Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
What are the ethics and politics of writing about our children when our families are politically vulnerable? Questions of censorship, privacy, and children’s rights resonate differently in poetry of witness or advocacy than in memoir or confessional work. As queer mothers, mothers of color, and mothers of children with disabilities, what do we refuse to write about our families? What may we, must we, share as poets of witness? And how do we tell the difference? Panelists: Joelle Biele, Amanda Johnston, Hoa Nguyen, Deborah Paredez, Lisa L Moore
Details: Saturday, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm, Room 203AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two