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November Third Thursday: “Breaking the Mold: Experimenting with Structure”

November 16, 2023 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM CST

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WLT hosts Third Thursday each month, featuring discussions focusing on specific topics of interest to writers and readers, bringing together distinguished panelists for conversations moderated by a WLT staff member.

“I took no maps, I cannot read maps—why press a seal on running water? After all, the only rule of travel is, Don’t come back the way you went. Come a new way.” —Anne Carson, “The Anthropology of Water”

As writers, we inherit molds we’re meant to fit our stories into, maps that tell us to “go this way.” We also crave designs that are pleasing to us. Eventually, though, a pattern can lull us. Familiarity can dull our senses. Outdated maps can lead us astray. What are the ways writers can upset expectations and shake us loose from these grooves? How can experimenting with structure make the old new again or reveal to us as yet undiscovered horizons?

For November Third Thursday, we’ll be in conversation with three notable authors—including Dr. Taylor Byas, Jennifer duBois, and Sarah Viren—to discuss how pushing the boundaries, subverting, bypassing, or breaking traditional forms creates new possibilities in the process. Regardless of what you’re writing—fiction, nonfiction, poetry—this discussion is for you.

This conversation will be moderated by WLT Program Director Sarah Renee Beach.

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Buy our panelists’ books and support indie bookstores! You can find our November Third Thursday booklist here.

Featured Presenter(s)

Dr. Taylor Byas, Ph.D. is a Black Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is an Assistant Features Editor for The Rumpus, an Acquisitions Poetry Editor for Variant Literature, a member of the Beloit Poetry Journal Editorial Board, and a 2023-24 National Book Critics Emerging Fellow. She is the 1st place winner of the 2020 Poetry Super Highway, the 2020 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets Contest, and the 2021 Adrienne Rich Poetry Prize. She is the author of the chapbook Bloodwarm from Variant Lit, a second chapbook, Shutter, from Madhouse Press, her debut full-length, I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times from Soft Skull Press, which won the 2023 Maya Angelou Book Award and is shortlisted for the 2023 Chicago Review of Books Award in Poetry, and her second full-length Resting Bitch Face, forthcoming in 2025. She is also a coeditor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol X: Alabama, published with Texas Review Press in November 2023, and Poemhood: Our Black Revival, a YA anthology forthcoming from HarperCollins.
Jennifer duBois is the author of The Last Language. Her first novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and winner of the California Book Award for First Work of Fiction. Soon after its publication, duBois received a Whiting Award and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award. Her second novel, Cartwheel, was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and the winner of the Housatonic Book Award. And her third novel, The Spectators, was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship and a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Stanford University Stegner Fellowship, duBois teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University. She lives in Austin.
Sarah Viren is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and author of two books. Her essay collection Mine won the River Teeth Book Prize and the GLCA New Writers Award and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Her memoir To Name the Bigger Lie, released this year, was an Editor's Pick by the New York Times. She teaches in the creative writing program at Arizona State University and lives in Tempe, Arizona with her wife, two kids, and a mutt named Oki.


November 16, 2023
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM CST
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Online via Zoom