In the midst of the most politically tumultuous and frantic news cycles in history, journalists and authors are telling stories that are delve deeply into the truth of many of our most sacred institutions –the White House, Congress, corporations, healthcare, sports, the arts and nearly every aspect of life.

The 2020 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is offering you the chance to listen, meet and learn from the some of the nation’s best reporters, writers and storytellers. You’ll hear the stories behind the stories. You’ll hear from the reporters, writers and editors who weave together the narrative and the dialogue to produce noteworthy, memorable work that gives relevance to the events of our times.

We’ll engage in conversations that will help you sort out the trivial to bring truth into 20/20 focus.

All times are CDT

Friday, October 16, 2020

3:30 p.m.
Welcome remarks from Dean Andrea Miller and Conference Director Neil Foote

4 - 5 p.m.
Kick-Off Conversation
Brought to you by PEN America

Storytelling in an Age of Disinformation
Moderator: Andrea Valdez, Editor, the

  • Nora Benavidez, U.S. Free Expression Program, PEN America
  • Tom Rosenstiel, executive director, American Press Institute

5 - 6:15 p.m.
A Conversation with Sarah Broom
With Soraya McDonald, Culture Critic, and 2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Sarah Broom's ('02) The Yellow House, her memoir of growing up in New Orleans, has won great reviews from Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times, and it is now a finalist for the National Book Award for nonfiction. She even mentions her time at UNT, giving shout outs to West Hall and Willis Library. When the North Texan talked to her for its fall issue, Sarah said she began jotting notes for the book while she was at UNT. She spent years writing the memoir while working for O Magazine and two nonprofit organizations.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
A Conversation with Peter Baker and Susan Glasser
Co-authors of “The Man Who Ran Washington: James A. Baker III”

Interviewed by Krys Boyd, host of KERA’s THINK
This is just the latest work from these two journalists. New York Times reporter Peter Baker has authored four books and covered the past four presidents. He and The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser served in the Moscow Bureau for the Washington Post.

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Up Close: The Coronavirus – Storytelling During a Pandemic
Brought to you by Bloomberg News Series

Moderator: Syeda Hasan, reporter, KERA

  • Cynthia Koons, Senior U.S. Healthcare Reporter, Bloomberg News
  • Anna Kuchment, science writer, Dallas Morning News

12 - 1 p.m.
When Race, Culture and Justice Collide

Moderator: Cary Aspinwall, investigative reporter, The Marshall Project

  • Doug Swanson, author of “The Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers”
  • Jamie Thompson, author of “Standoff: Race, Policing and the Deadly Assault that Gripped a Nation”
  • Michael Fletcher, senior writer,


2 - 3:15 p.m.
El Paso Massacre Redux: The Walmart Shooting, One Year Later

These Dallas Morning News reporters spent several months recreating and chronicling the lives of those affected by the shooting at Walmart. The reporters faced all sorts of challenges, including navigating around COVID-19 and managing the emotions of a community battling grief, anger and fear

Moderator: Tom Huang, Assistant Managing Editor, The Dallas Morning News

  • Alfredo Corchado, U.S.-Mexico Affairs Reporter
  • Cassandra Jaramillo, reporter, The Dallas Morning News
  • James Barragan, reporter, Texas politics

3:25 - 4:30 p.m.
Keynote: A Fireside Chat

Join us for a casual conversation between Mike Wilson, Editor of The Dallas Morning News and Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “One Day, The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America.”


6 - 6:30 p.m.
Mayborn Conference Awards Presentation

KERA’s Sam Baker joins us to announce the winners of our annual Mayborn Conference writing contests.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

9:30 a.m.
Mayborn “Great Six-Word 2020 Story” Contest Announced

9:45 - 10:45 a.m.
Publishing in the Midst of a Pandemic: What Works

This panel of literary agents discusses how the book industry has been affected and what ideas from this year will stand out from the rest.

Moderator: John Parsley, VP/Editor in Chief, Dutton

  • Ayesha Pande, principal, Ayesha Pande Literary
  • Jenny Herrera, agent, David Black Agency
  • Leticia Gomez, CEO/Founder, Savvy Literary

10:50 - 11:50 a.m.
Sports & Social Justice: Framing Athletes as Advocates

Moderator: Kevin Merida, Senior VP and Editor in Chief, The UnDefeated/ESPN

  • Marc Spears, Senior NBA Writer, TheUndefeated/ESPN
  • Bill Rhoden, former New York Times sports columnist, author and writer-at-large

12 - 12:50 p.m.
Bringing Truth Into Focus: Telling Untold Stories

Moderator: Stella Chavez, Immigration/Demographics reporter, KERA

  • Julian Aguilar, politics and border affairs, Texas Tribune
  • Esmeralda Bermudez, reporter the Los Angeles Times

1 p.m.
Closing Remarks & Conference Wrap Up