A Note from conference director George Getschow...
This is our 11th year of staging the preeminent narrative nonfiction conference in the country. And each year, our passionate tribe of narrative nonfiction storytellers expect the sort of literary feast that will sustain their hunger and thirst until it comes time to gather again in Grapevine, TX.
Well, I have good news: our constellation of literary lights coming to Grapevine this summer are bound to satiate your appetite. Our Friday keynote, Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, will talk about her searing account of the unbridgeable gulf between a family of Hmong refugees and their American doctors. Our Saturday keynote, Barbara Ehrenreich, is a nationally acclaimed journalist, social critic and author of Nickle and Dimed. Barbara will talk about her groundbreaking work: writing about workers who occupy the bottom rung of society’s economic ladder. And Sunday keynote Alex Tizon, the author of Big Little Man, will talk about race, culture, politics, power and stereotypes in a way that will forever change our view of Asian Americans. All told, more than 20 nationally acclaimed writers from around the country will explore one central theme: the great divide between the Haves and Have-Nots in American society and the social, economic, racial, cultural and political fissures created by this divide.
Sounds serious, doesn’t it? Well, yes, and no. As we do each year, we’re taking on a serious subject. But we do it in a way that’s more playful and entertaining than somber and serious. If you’ve read Mary Roach’s best selling books about the life of cadavers, Stiff and Spook, you’ll know what I mean. And Mary had the time of her life at the Mayborn. "Hey George, this is just plain the best nonfiction writing conference I’ve ever been to," she wrote after her last appearance.
Our focus is and always will be about the age-old art of storytelling. But today, long-form storytelling is delivered on a growing number of digital platforms. And that’s why I invited Jill Abramson, a renowned journalist who spent the last 17 years in the most senior editorial positions at The New York Times, to talk to you about her new digital venture in long-form, narrative storytelling. You won't want to miss her talk.
If you’ve never been to our annual gathering, don’t miss this one. The Mayborn is a three-day exploration and celebration of the narrative craft that you won’t experience anywhere else. What's our secret? Well, we don't have one. We've just learned that when you mix a passionate tribe of narrative nonfiction writers and editors from around the country with a group of nationally acclaimed storytellers in one big room (and that's where it happens; there are no break-out sessions) that's what you get: a celebration and exploration of the best of it.
So come join our Tribe of Storytellers this summer. I promise you'll have the time of your literary life.
- George Getschow
Writer-in-Residence and Director
Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference