Beyond Lolita

Literary Writers on Sex and Sexuality
a series of events to benefit Pen America’s Writers’ Emergency Fund


Click here for more information!

AWP Panels:

2016: Los Angeles

Literary Orphans Presents 
Burning Down the Walls: The Art and Importance of Writing Essays That Can Change the World

Thursday, March 31st 2016  10:30am-11:45am

Megan Stielstra, Michele Filgate, Jamia Wilson, Ashley Ford

Essays concerned—directly or indirectly—with the social crises of our time are receiving unprecedented readership. In that context, this panel will discuss the role of the essayist as citizen, issues surrounding personal disclosures in the socially conscious essay, their own call to create change, as well as their own recent works confronting topics such as race, feminism, queer identity, and abortion. Handouts will include a reading list, suggested markets/editors and helpful craft suggestions.

Short Nonfiction: A Genre for Building Literary Careers
Thursday, March 31st 2016  9:00am-10:15am

David Weinstein, David Groff, Jabari Asim, Timothy Denevi

Writers of all genres benefit from publishing short nonfiction. In book reviews and op-eds, countless opportunities exist to be seen and heard—and to pave the way to book publication. Panelists at all stages of their careers discuss how to build authority in today’s nonfiction landscape. Along with practical advice on breaking in, they emphasize the nuances of producing, pitching, and promoting different forms within the genre—of value to both the writer and the culture at large.

2015: Minneapolis

Stranger Than Fiction: Personal Essay in the Age of the Internet
with: Jamie Iredell, Wendy Ortiz, Megan Stielstra, Ben Tanzer

What does it mean to write a personal essay in the age of the internet? And how do we decide what is truth when we as writers are expected to tangle with the pressure to create public personas? The personal essayists on this panel discussed how they maneuver through these challenges–building brand, navigating social media, defining creative nonfiction, and yes, finding the truth in our writing, when the truth is filtered through the endless platforms that comprise our lives today.

Literary Orphans Presents: Desire, Grief, Joy, Shame, Fear. An Intimate Exploration of Identity
with: Antonia Crane, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Robert Vaughan, Zoe Zolbrod

What are our scars, obsessions, questions? How do they shape who we are as writers? How do they create the stories we tell and affect the forms they take? How do our personal histories shape the ideas we find difficult, yet urgent, to explore through writing? Panelists explored these topics, discussed their own identity in relationship to their writing, and posed questions to one another. Extensive audience Q&A led by Rumpus poetry editor Brian Spears. Introductions by Literary Orphans editor Mike Joyce.

Panel: Teen Sex in Fiction for Adults
with: Pamela Erens, Gina Frangello, Kiese Laymon, Elissa Schappell

Teen sex in literary fiction is often treated as pathological: feral, exploitative, maladjusted. In fact, teen sexual activity is developmentally normal, and ripe for more nuanced treatment. Five novelists, editors, and critics discussed our experiences in writing and reading about teen sexuality, and suggested ways to grapple successfully with this controversial material. An extensive bibliography and practical materials were distributed.

2014: Seattle

Breaking Silences: Women’s Memoir as an Act of Rebellion
with: Rosemary Daniell, Connie May Fowler, Janice Gary, Kate Hopper

Pregnancy. Rape. Motherhood. Domestic violence. Tillie Olsen writes: Why are more women silenced than men? The women on this panel also ask: why, when women write about the full experience of being female in this culture are our stories seen as less worthy of literary merit than those of male counterparts? We addressed our experiences with writing taboo subjects and discussed the conscious and unconscious biases that keep women from the transgressive act of writing honestly about their lives.

A “New” Nonfiction
with: Gina Frangello, Jamie Iredell, Scott McClanahan

As writers and publishers have adapted to the evolving media-driven culture of which they are a part, this panel featured writers whose work spans the scope of contemporary nonfiction, from literary criticism to memoir, to immersive journalism and the op ed. They have found traditional print venues for placing their writing, as well as podcasts, webzines, websites, interactive maps, and ebooks, and will discuss how nonfiction has evolved to adapt to the many venues available for its practitioners.


BinderCon Panels/Workshops

2015: New York

Hot…and Bothered: Exploring Sex/Sexuality/Desire in Creative Non-Fiction and Fiction
Sunday, November 8th     2:30 – 3:45pm     Rose Auditorium
with: LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Ashley C. Ford, Jaclyn Friedman, Sofia Quintero

This panel explored and encouraged writing about desire, sex and sexuality in non-fiction and fiction. We discussed the rewards and challenges of writing sex and sexuality openly as well as the feminist/revolutionary aspects of doing so. We talked about the many forms of conflicting advice that circulate about writing sex scenes and helped writers navigate their path to doing so. We explored relevant examples of strong writing in these areas and discussed our own work and experiences in writing sex/sexuality as well as challenges to doing this kind of writing—and how to get past them. It interrogated ideas as well as offer practical strategies and encouragement. We invited lively audience Q and A and discussion. Craft handouts were distributed as well as a bibliography of recommended works.

2015: Los Angeles

Writing and Publishing Your Personal Essay
Workshop Teacher
with Wendy C. Ortiz

This workshop reviewed examples of compelling personal essays and all aspects of the polished personal essay. Discussion included topicality and the issue of timeliness, essential components, craft and form, revision strategies, polishing and weight/importance. Discussion also included markets, pitching, editors and the submission process. Special attention was paid to the personal/political/cultural hybrid essay and experimental topics.


NonfictionNOW Panels

2015: Flagstaff

Exploring Women’s Bodies
Thursday, October 29th     2:30 – 3:45pm     Agassiz
with: Heidi Czerwiec, Jen Fitzgerald, EJ Levy, Ashley Perez

Other Events:

Hello Los Angeles: An AWP Kickoff Party to Benefit 826LA
An LA Literary Event Hosted by LITFOLKS
Wednesday, March 30th 2016  4pm-6pm
barcito: 403 West 12th Street  Los Angeles CA

Litfolks is: Melissa Chadburn, Antonia Crane, Anna March, Ashley Perez and Laura Warrell

With Special Guests: Luis Alberto Urrea and Michael White
Featured Authors: Robin Black, Desiree Cooper, Fabienne Josaphat and Bethanne Patrick
Special LA Guests: Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Teka Lark, Dan Smetanka and J Ryan Stradal

Cash Bar – Complimentary Hors D’oeuvres – Book Signings – Raffle Drawing to benefit 826LA

This event is free, but please consider donating $10 or whatever you can afford to benefit 826LA. All are invited to attend. Please join us!

VIDA VIP Cocktail Recepetion
AWP 2015
Chair & Sponsor

An intimate VIP cocktail reception, providing the opportunity to spend time in a private setting with a few of the talented luminaries in our literary world. VIDA: Women in Literary Arts works to raise awareness of gender disparity in the literary world today using their annual Count. Since its inception in 2009, The VIDA Count has made apparent the uneven playing field that exists in publishing and thus has helped to ignite important discourse and essential change in the literary community. Funds raised at this event, chaired by Anna March, support the ongoing cost of The VIDA Count. To learn more about VIDA, visit
2015 Honorees: Cheryl Strayed, Jill Bialosky, Alexander Chee, Cornelius Eady, Leslie Jamison, Tayari Jones, Francine Prose, Elissa Schappell, Robert Spillman

HEAT Reading: Hotter than Hell (A Benefit for VIDA)
AWP 2015

A day of literary talent, general amusement and downright bookishness during AWP. HEAT was created by supportive literary citizens to aid VIDA in their efforts. In it’s third year, the event grew into a marathon day jam packed with writers of all shapes, sizes and dietary tendencies. Donations made at this event supported the ongoing cost of The VIDA Count, which is largely comprised of subscriptions to the literary journals and periodicals it includes. To learn more about VIDA, visit
2015 MC: Antonia Crane
2015 Readers: Robin Black, Julia Fierro, Kate Hopper, Tyehimba Jess, Kiese Laymon, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, J Ryan Stradal, xTx, and many others!