Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Sunday Salon: NonfictioNow Conference
The Sunday

One of the major perks of living in Iowa City is that it's a huge hotspot for writers. This past week was the NonfictioNow Conference which occurs every two years. I'm all over this conference because I love Nonfiction. Only about a third of the events were open to the public and I went to three events. The first and biggest event I went to was the Alison Bechdel reading. I was really excited about this because I loved her book Fun Home. The reading was unlike any reading I've ever been to. Since she is a graphic artist she can't really do a normal reading, so instead she creates a powerpoint with one panel on each slide and then reads the text that goes with the panel. I really enjoyed this and found that it was a lot easier to pay attention to than a normal reading.

After she was done I got my copy of Fun Home signed and got a picture taken. They were also selling broadsides of a comic she did that were printed at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. I got one of this and can't wait to find a frame for it!

Friday night was the Rebecca Solnit reading. I've never read anything by her, but I ran into my nature writing professor who gave the introduction for her and he enjoys her work. She is a probably most well known as a nature writer. I enjoyed this reading, although there were some technical difficulties with the microphone. She took it in stride though. She talked a bit about being political and being a writer, and how being an artist doesn't make you exempt from caring about politics. She talked quite a bit about Bill McKibben too, who has obviously taken the political writer status to a whole new level.

Saturday evening was a reading of more local people who write narrative nonfiction. Andre Perry gave a great introduction to this topic, mentioning how when he was school he would turn in essays and his teacher told him they were fiction because they were narrative. This is a pretty common idea, actually, but I find that some of the best nonfiction is narrative. Ryan Van Meter was the person I was most interested in hearing because I talked about his essay First as an awesome essay. He read an absolutely beautiful essay about hunting and animals. It had this spinning quality to it, where he started in one place, went to another, then returned to that original place. I wish I could have it in front of me to really parse out.

Overall what I saw of the conference was really great. This week I spent most of my time talking about comic books. I reviewed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (which I loved!) as well as four comic books: Fables, The Walking Dead, Coward, and Suburban Glamour. Be sure to check out those reviews!

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Sunday Salon: NonfictioNow Conference + TIME