The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow 2019 Mike Conklin

Mike Conklin

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellows 2019

About Mike Conklin

Mike Conklin is a career journalist, whose feature, news and daily column writing was familiar to Chicago Tribune readers for three-plus decades. His assignments were local, national and international, often appearing in Tribune Syndication distributed to over 300 newspapers. Other work appeared in the New York Times, Encyclopedia of Chicago, Encyclopedia of American Journalism, History Magazine, textbooks, and a variety of other publications. 

Conklin left The Tribune to join the full-time faculty at DePaul University, where he taught, served as student newspaper advisor, and helped found the school’s Journalism Department. He also taught communication at Xiamen University in China and writing as an adjunct at Cornell College (Ia.), Lake Forest College (Ill.), and University of Illinois-Chicago. Other projects have included editing, writing, and contributing to five nonfiction books, publishing two fiction novels, and peer reviewing for Northwestern University Press. Currently he is working on a nonfiction Dust Bowl novel. Conklin lives in Arizona in the winter, where he teaches writing and consults as a volunteer in the Scottsdale Public Library and Phoenix Public School systems.

Find Conference Sessions with Mike Conklin

The Art of Contemporary Nonfiction Panel
Fernanda Santos, Yvette Johnson, Mike Conklin, Walonda Williams

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Journalism

In a world where the boundaries between fact and fiction are constantly blurred, where does creative nonfiction fit in at this moment in history? How do writers bring the story of the individual to life? What are the intricacies of writing characters who are real people? How does writing the factual impact the creative process? Spanning journalism, memoir, research, and essays, Fernanda Santos, Yvette Johnson, and Mike Conklin will discuss the unique challenges, complexities, and ultimate rewards of writing the real.


Making Facts Matter
Mike Conklin

Friday, February 22, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Journalism

Join career journalist, Mike Conklin, on his approach to writing creative nonfiction with a focus on the basics: establish the narrative, match it with an intended audience and medium, collect facts, and, depending on length, construct your storytelling with an organized, clear pathway. The structure of sentences, paragraphs and relative details carry the reader. Sounds simple and journalistic, but nonfiction writing is about facts---their use and non-use. Let them tell the story, and the writer provides segues.