AWP Panel: “Noir as an Agent for Social Change” • Thursday, March 24

On Thursday, March 24, at 9 a.m., the virtual panel I organized for this year’s AWP Conference goes life—and I hope conference attendees will join us for the discussion! (It should be available for viewing afterwards as well, but registration is required.)

“Noir as an Agent for Social Change: A Look at Transgressive Genre Fiction” features panelists Steph Cha, Jay Gertzman, Elizabeth Hand, and Richie Narvaez, and it can be accessed via the AWP22 Virtual Conference Platform (registration required).

Here’s the event description:

Should people dare to dream with the forces of the world allied against them? Though “noir” has morphed into a buzzword for any darkly themed thriller, its traditional elements are more specific: an outsider perspective, economic insecurity, systemic injustice, distrust of the status quo, existential despair. Five fiction writers and critics discuss the roots of noir and how writers today, both genre and literary, can build on and transform this tradition to explore similar themes today.

And here are the bio of our participants:

Art Taylor is the author most recently of The Boy Detective and The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense. His fiction has won the Edgar Award, four Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, four Macavity Awards, and four Derringer Awards. He is an associate professor at George Mason University.

Richie Narvaez received the 2021 BRIO Award, a $5,000 grant for artistic excellence. His latest book is the anthology Noiryorican, which was nominated for an Anthony Award. He teaches crime fiction writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

Steph Cha is the author of Follow Her Home, Beware Beware, and Dead Soon Enough. Her fourth novel, Your House Will Pay, will be out from Ecco in 2019. She’s the noir editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times and USA Today

Elizabeth Hand is the author of sixteen multiple-award-winning novels and five collections of short fiction and essays. She is a longtime reviewer for numerous publications, including the Washington Post, LA Times, and Boston Review, and is on faculty at the Stonecoast MFA program.

Jay A Gertzman is studying the contemporary version of the mid-twentieth century pulp crime “newsstand” paperback. In 2018, he published a study of the work of David Goodis, a leading twentieth-century pulp crime writer. It was a finalist for the 2019 Anthony Award for best critical or nonfiction work.

This year’s AWP Conference & Bookfair takes place in Philadelphia, and Jay, Richie, and I will be there in person as well—keep an eye out for us if you want to continue the conversation!