New Fiction Confab

On Saturday, April 1st, we were thrilled to welcome several of the most notable authors to publish new work in 2016 and 2017: Dan Chaon, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Alexandra Kleeman, John Pipkin, Deb Olin Unferth, Yoojin Grace Wuertz.  Every year, the New Fiction Confab invites a handful of America’s most prominent early- and mid-career authors to Austin to spend a day leading writing workshops, reading their work, and engaging in conversations that offer the community an opportunity to explore and discuss contemporary fiction with authors shaping America’s literary landscape.


Readings and Conversations / Faulk Library / 2:00-5:00

Yoojin Grace Wuertz and John Pipkin / 2:00-2:45

Moderator: Michael Noll, editor of “Read to Write Stories” and program director for the Writers’ League of Texas

Book sales and signing to follow

Alexandra Kleeman and Deb Olin Unferth / 3:00-3:45

Moderator: Brittani Sonnenberg, author of Home Leave

Dan Chaon and Patty Yumi Cottrell / 4:00-4:45

Moderator: Scott Blackwood, author of See How Small, We Agreed to Meet Just Here, and In the Shadow of Our House


Austin Lit Fair / Faulk Library / 2:00-5:00

The New Fiction Confab showcases local publishers and literary organizations shaping Austin’s dynamic community of readers and writers. Discover their work and meet the editors and publishers enriching Austin. Featuring:

  • American Short Fiction
  • The Austin Review
  • Bat City Review
  • Books Are Not a Luxury
  • fields magazine
  • Old Books for New Teachers
  • Writers’ League of Texas
  • The Writing Barn


Badgerdog Writing Workshops / 10:15-11:15

Workshop for Kids (Grades 3-5)

With Yoojin Grace Wuertz at Twin Oaks Branch Library

Workshop for Teens (Grades 6-12)

With Alexandra Kleeman at Yarborough Branch Library

Workshop for Adults

With Patty Yumi Cottrell at North Village Branch Library

Workshop for Adults

With Dan Chaon at Manchaca Branch Library


2017 New Fiction Confab Authors

Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of six works of fiction, including Await Your Reply and Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His latest novel, Ill Will, explores one man’s ties to two unsolved crimes—one rooted in his family’s past and the other unfolding in his own community. In this page-turning thriller, Chaon explores obsession, the failures of memory, the collapse of family, and the perils of self-deception.

Patty Yumi Cottrell was born in Korea and raised in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, BOMB, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, is a bleakly comic tour de force that follows a young woman investigating her adoptive brother’s suicide. The writing is viscerally upsetting, but uproariously funny and poignant.

Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, was published in 2015. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, Harper’s, Tin House, n + 1, and elsewhere. Her debut story collection, Intimations, is elegant and haunting, and conjures characters in moments of deep isolation and displacement, exploring human life from beginning to end.

John Pipkin’s first novel, Woodsburner, earned multiple awards and was named one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and The San Francisco Chronicle. His latest novel, The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter, is set in eighteenth-century Ireland and explores obsession, human connection, and the pursuit of early European scientific discovery. He lives in Austin with his wife and son.

Deb Olin Unferth is the author of Minor Robberies, Vacation, and Revolution:The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography. Her first short story collection, Wait Till You See Me Dance, reveals the rage, despair, and profound mournfulness that have taken root in the heart of the American dream. Unferth lives in Austin and teaches for the New Writers Project and the Michener Center.

Yoojin Grace Wuertz was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States at age six. Her debut novel, Everything Belongs to Us, tells the story of two young women of vastly different means who struggle to find their own way during the darkest hours of South Korea’s “economic miracle.” The result is rife with turmoil and desire, private anxieties and public betrayals, dashed hopes and broken dreams.