28th – 31st October 2015, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
NonfictioNOW is a conference where all kinds of nonfiction are celebrated. From long form journalism to the lyric essay, panelists, keynote speakers, readers, and student come together to discuss the craft of writing. Panel topics range from The Beasts Among Us to The Essay as Ruin, from Creative Nonfiction and Cognitive Science to Unusual Foods. For the first time ever, we are hosting a book fair for literary magazines and presses with a special interest in nonfiction, including Superstition Review.
The conference is in its fifth iteration. In 2005, it was first held in Iowa City. In 2012, RMIT hosted the conference in Melbourne, Australia. This has become an international conference devoted to every walk of nonfiction life. Keynote speakers this year include Roxane Gay, Michael Martone, Ander Monson, Maggie Nelson, Brian Doyle, and Tim Flannery with special guests Alison Deming and Joni Tevis.
Nicole Walker of Northern Arizona University is so thrilled to host the conference this year in Flagstaff, Arizona. Not only does she want to show off this great city with its surprisingly excellent restaurants and its mainstay coffee houses but also to showcase Flagstaff’s nearby access to nine National Parks. Since place informs so much about nonfiction writing, it’s important that the conference be hosted in a fascinating one. When writers converge in one, great place, great things happen.
Northern Michigan resident Tim Flannery is an artist whose work is deeply influenced by his surroundings. Living and working in the Upper Peninsula, his photography often captures the idyllic beauty of this place, which is defined by its dense forests, its Great Lakes, and its long, harsh winters. On his website, Flannery states, “during the long winters I find that my work becomes more convoluted…As the winters drag on the images start to take on a surreal feeling.” Indeed, this is evident in the pieces that will appear in Issue 8 of Superstition Review this December, particularly his painting “Twig Man.” The palette is awash in grays, and looking at his painting I can’t help but feel the sense of confinement that comes with being forced indoors. I can only imagine that Flannery completed this particular piece during the coldest days.
Flannery’s passion for the Upper Peninsula is not confined to his artwork. When not working on his own art, he edits Art on Ice: Digital Magazine of Art and Culture in the Frozen Upper Peninsula. His magazine covers a wide array of subjects in the arts, including articles on everything from literature to dance to dining. What unites these subjects is a strong sense of the contributors’ regional identity, and like Flannery’s own art, the work in this magazine is clearly influenced by the thick forests and ever-present cold. Coming from Arizona, where Superstition Review is based, it is particularly interesting to explore how environment shapes art, since the Sonoran Desert and the Upper Peninsula are about as different as two environments can be. It is a pleasure to glimpse another part of the world through the work that reflects its identity.