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July 21 - 23, 2017

Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference
The Power of Words

Through "The Power of Words," the 2017 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference will present the impact of writing in its simplest form and show how the words we use can have a lasting and transformative effect on the world around us - in politics, culture, science, economics, sports, the arts, and more. Even in a world where pictures, videos and sounds are creating buzz through social media platforms, it is the power of words, the ability to craft a narrative and tell a story that provides the context, the depth and understanding that helps inform and engage us. Speakers will demonstrate how communications and writing can dramatically shape our perceptions – and knowledge - of the past, the present and our future.

The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is where aspiring and established storytellers, reporters, photographers, and narrative non-fiction writers from all walks of life learn, engage and network with the nation's best authors journalists, editors, educators and agents through workshops, seminars and keynotes.

FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2017

7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Registration

8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Writing workshops for selected entries

1 – 4 p.m. Meet the Agents Sessions

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Receptions

6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Southwest Soiree

6:45 p.m. Program begins

7:30 – 8:15 p.m. Keynote Address: Katherine Boo
Over twenty-five years as a journalist, Katherine Boo has established herself as a fearless, honest writer dedicated to telling the stories of the poor and disadvantaged on the pages of our most esteemed publications. Boo is perhaps best know for her New York Times bestselling book Behind the Beautiful Forevers, which was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, and adapted for the stage by the National Theatre. A landmark work of narrative nonfiction, it tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the world’s great, unequal cities: Mumbai, India. A staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post, she learned to report at the alternative weekly Washington City Paper, after which she worked as a writer and co-editor of Washington Monthly magazine. Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing..


7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Registration

9 – 9:50 a.m.
Seven Ways to Get Your Book Published
Includes Q&A

10 – 10:55 a.m.
Panel discussion with Tom Huang and Jeff Weiss:
Documenting Your Own Demise
Includes Q&A


11 – 11:55 a.m.
Panel discussion with Diane Solis and Alia Malek:
Telling the Tales of Refugees and Immigrants in an Age of Trump
Includes Q&A

12 – 12:55 p.m. 

1 – 1:50 p.m.
Panel discussion with Jeff Whittington:
The Art of Audio Storytelling
Includes Q&A

2 – 2:55 p.m.
Panel discussion with Gordon Keith and Sarah Hepola:
Exploring Your Demons: A Conversation with Sarah Hepola, author, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
Includes Q&A

Sarah Hepola has written many stories about drinking and eating too much. Her essays on culture have appeared in the New York Times magazine, Elle, The New Republic, Glamour, The Guardian, Slate, The Morning News, and Salon, where she was a longtime editor. Her past jobs include: Travel columnist, music editor, film critic, sex blogger, and for about 15 seconds in the late ’90s, she taught high school English. She lives in East Dallas, where she enjoys playing her guitar poorly and listening to the “Xanadu” soundtrack. Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget (Grand Central) is her first book.

3 – 3:55 p.m.
Roundtable discussion with Jia Tolentino, Jason Fagone, Brooke Jarvis and Rachel Monroe:
Power of the Paycheck: A Roundtable on Freelancing
Includes Q&A

4 – 4:45 p.m.
A conversation with Wright Thompson | Moderated by Paul Kix
Includes Q&A

5 p.m.

7 p.m.
Guests seated/opening remarks

7:45 p.m.
Awards presentations

8 p.m.
Keynote Address: Sebastian Junger

Literary Lights Dinner featuring Sebastian Junger
Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Perfect Storm, Fire, A Death in Belmont, War and Tribe. As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world, and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Junger is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film "Restrepo," a feature-length documentary (co-directed with Tim Hetherington), was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

9 – 10 p.m
Book Signings

SUNDAY, JULY 23, 2017

9 – 9:45 a.m.
Panel discussion with Sara Hepola, Mike Graff and Jia Tolentino:
Personal Perspective or Navel Gazing?
Includes Q&A

10 – 11:30 a.m. Closing keynote Address: Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson is author of 22 books, is a novelist, philosopher, essayist, literary scholar, short-story writer, cartoonist and illustrator, an author of children’s literature, and a screen-and-teleplay writer. A MacArthur fellow, Johnson has received a 2002 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, a 1990 National Book Award for his novel, Middle Passage, a 1985 Writers Guild award for his PBS teleplay “Booker,” the 2016 W.E.B. Du Bois Award at the National Black Writers Conference, and many other awards. The Charles Johnson Society at the American Literature Association was founded in 2003. In November, 2016, Pegasus Theater  Chicago debuted its play adaptation of Middle Passage, titled “Rutherford’s Travels.” Dr. Johnson recently published Taming the Ox: Buddhist Stories and Reflections on Politics, Race, Culture, and Spiritual Practice. His most recent book, published in December, is The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling. 

11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Closing remarks