We’ll explore how journalism and storytelling have impacted (and been impacted by) the many events unfolding over the past year – healthcare, trust and news, mental health, social justice, and how the times have affected us all.

As always, we’ll have the nation’s leading journalists, writers and authors to give the inside stories. We plan to go beyond the headlines, allowing some of the nation’s best journalists and authors to share the story behind the stories.

We know it’s been a year of outstanding investigative journalism, powerful breaking news narratives and heart wrenching personal narratives that capture a world under siege by the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken its toll on so many aspects of life.

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.

All times are CDT

Friday, October 15, 2021

[LIVE Streamed Opening Reception & Kick Off Conversation – Potentially in person]

6:30 p.m.
Welcome to Mayborn

  • Brief remarks from Andrea Miller, dean
  • Neil Foote, director, Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference

6:45 – 7:45 p.m.
Stories from the Bubble: The Untold Stories
A roundtable of some of the nation’s best journalists and authors discuss the untold stories behind the headlines.

7:45 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Mayborn Happy Hour / Virtual [and Live]
Pull up to your computer, laptop or cell phone with your favorite beverage and toast to the 2021 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Segment One: Healing the Nation

LIVE – 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Bloomberg News Series presents …
A leading journalist from Bloomberg News discusses the incredible work from the past year, particular the intersection of health, politics and culture.

10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
Health Crisis as the New Norm
Medical, health and science reporters have been working nonstop to tell the story of the COVID-19 pandemic: from testing to vaccines. Our panel of seasoned writers discuss the challenges of reporting and writing the technical nuances of this story, balancing, facts, science, reality and debunking myths.

Moderator: TBD


Segment Two: Healing the News

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Midday Keynote Conversation
Reporting at a 24/7/365 Pace: Getting It Right Against All Odds
Garrett, a three-time author and veteran D.C. reporter, dives into the tumult of the past year, sharing his strategies and approaches to storytelling.

2 – 2:50 p.m.
The Evolution of Storytelling: Crafting words, pictures and video
Our panel of journalists discuss how they collaborated with their colleagues to write, produce and publish stories using all forms of media.


Segment Three: Healing the Mind

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Mindful Stories: Exploring Mental Health

The rising cases of mental health has been among the many derivatives of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our panel of reporters explore their approaches to sharing these delicate stories with grace, candor and truth.

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Keynote – Fireside Chat – Mary Karr, author, Art of the Memoir

Mary Karr’s “The Art of the Memoir,” is one of the nation’s premier books on how best we extract those stories from our hearts and souls into the written word. We talk about how writers – aspiring and experienced - can best tell their personal stories that transcend the self-indulgent and engage readers in a riveting narrative.

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Virtual Happy Hour


6:30 – 7:30 p.m. [pre-recorded]
Awards Presentation

Emcee: Sam Baker

7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Virtual Happy Hour & Baby Shoes Competition Winners Announced

Keep the conference conversations – and beverages – flowing! Stop by one of our several hosted meeting rooms to network, reconnect, share stories and laugh-out-loud.

8:30 p.m.
Conference Wrap Up


Marty Baron, retired executive editor, The Washington Post

Marty Baron shares captivating insights from his award-winning journalism career, covering Elian Gonzalez, Spotlight, WikiLeaks, President Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic. He also offers some thoughts about the future of journalism and what happens next.