With scores of books coming out each year and the seemingly endless expansion of the internet, the publishing landscape is more saturated with stories than ever before. Yet it can still feel difficult to find the types of books that speak to you in subject matter, style, and theme. Join 2018 National Book Awards–honored authors Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers) and Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Heads of the Colored People) at The Community Library in Ketchum, Idaho for a discussion on writing the stories you want to see in the world, creating the conversations we should be having, and centering the lives of characters often neglected in literary fiction. The conversation will be moderated by author, teacher, and critical theorist Sarah Sentilles.
Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novel The Great Believers, one of the New York Times’ top ten books for 2018, a finalist for the National Book Award and the ALA Carnegie Medal, winner of the Chicago Review of Books Award, and a pick for the New York Public Library’s 2018 Best Books. Her other books are the novels The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and the collection Music for Wartime — four stories from which appeared in The Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Rebecca has taught at the Tin House Writers’ Conference and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is on the MFA faculties of Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University. She is Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago. Visit her at RebeccaMakkai.com or on twitter@rebeccamakkai.
Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeny’s “The Organist,” The Paris Review Daily, Dissent, Buzzfeed Books, The White Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and other publications. Her short story “Heads of the Colored People…” won StoryQuarterly’s 2016 Fiction Prize, judged by Mat Johnson. Her writing has received support from Callaloo, Tin House, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She currently works as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. Her first book, Heads of the Colored People, was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award, the PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize; and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize.