Navigating fact in fiction, past and present

September 12 & 13, 2014

FRIDAY NIGHT, September 12

6:30-9:30 pm; opening night party/exhibits

W. Dale Clark Library (downtown branch, 215 S. 15th St)

CURES & TONICS The (downtown) omaha lit fest 2014 opening night party, celebrating historical misrepresentation, nineteenth century medicine, and the legend of the old Omaha bawdy house.

Featuring drinks, eats, and special exhibits:
Museum of Alternative History; curated by Tim Guthrie, bringing together a curio cabinet of artists to create and display their own distorted commentaries on the historical aspects of person, place or thing

The Poetry Brothel; a celebration of the literary journal burntdistrict and its namesake, Omaha’s historic Burnt District, which was infamous for its bordellos, gambling tables, and other unseemly underbellies in the 19th century. Step into the brothel for your own intimate poetry reading;

Ten years of omaha lit fest design; posters by Justin Wolta


1-5 pm, panel discussions

W. Dale Clark Library (downtown branch, 215 S. 15th St)

Novelist and lit fest director Timothy Schaffert (author of “The Swan Gondola”) leads panel discussions on the process of adapting facts (either historical or personal) for fiction. Books for sale by Bookworm. 

1 pm Midwestern Mythmaking: Nebraska in fiction. Featuring: Pamela Carter Joern (In Reach, a collection of short stories about the fictional Nebraska town of Reach); Margaret Lukas (Farthest House, a novel about family, grief, and ghosts); and Karen Shoemaker (The Meaning of Names, a novel set among German-Americans during WWI). 

2pm Mixtapes and Jazz Standards: Exploring the past through music. Rainbow Rowell, whose novel Eleanor & Park follows the relationship of two teens who connect via New Wave and punk in 1986, discusses the role of music in creativity and character development, with Rebecca Rotert, whose novel Last Night at the Blue Angel tells the story of a Chicago jazz singer in the 1960s. 

3pm Past Tense, Future Perfect: Research, history, and writing about the past for readers in the present. Maud Casey, whose novel The Man Who Walked Away is set in a nineteenth-century psychiatric hospital, discusses the role of research in creating an authentic and moving portrait of history, with Karen Shoemaker, whose novel The Meaning of Names is set in Nebraska farm country during WWI. 

4pm “The Aviator’s Wife”: Fiction and biography. Novelist Melanie Benjamin discusses her best-selling novel The Aviator’s Wife, which is based on the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, with Timothy Schaffert, author of The Swan Gondola, a novel set in turn-of-the-century Omaha.

SATURDAY NIGHT, September 13

7pm at The Apollon

1801 Vinton St.

Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence Anthology Reading; with Leslie Adrienne Miller, Sara Henning, Laura Madeline Wiseman, and Jennifer Perrine 

Women Write Resistance (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013), edited by Laura Madeline Wiseman, views poetry as a transformative art. By deploying techniques to challenge narratives about violence against women and making alternatives to that violence visible, the over one hundred American poets in Women Write Resistance intervene in the ways gender violence is perceived in American culture. This reading will include an introduction by the editor and feature Women Write Resistance poets.