Avant-garde &Now literary festival kicks off at CalArts

A national conference of avant-garde literature starts today at CalArts

The &Now literary festival, a biennial celebration of cutting-edge writing and interdisciplinary projects and the discussions that surround them, begins Wednesday at CalArts. From March 25-28, the university will host hundreds of authors working in the literary avant-garde.

The more than 80 panels, performances, screenings and happenings are ticketed; costs range from $20 for a one-day student pass to a $100 conference pass that covers all four days.

Sessions include "Narrative Fragments: Art, Language, Algorithm," "Transconceptualisms / Transconceptualismos: Emergent Poetics in Spanish," "Mixed Doubles: Collaboration and Textual Tension," "Power, Slippage and the Visual: The Spaces of Fiction in a Visual Culture,"  "Marvelous Trash: Fan Fiction and Conceptualism" and "Speculative Academies: Interventions Into 21st Century Pedagogy."

Claudia Rankine, whose award-winning collection of prose poetry, "Citizen," was the first book to be a National Book Critics Circle finalist in two categories, Criticism and Poetry, will appear on Thursday at the panel "(Re)Figuring Voice: A Talk, A Screening, A Performance and Two Readings" with Laura Elrick, Miranda Mellis, Christina Milletti and Christine Hume.

Authors appearing include poet and essayist Maggie Nelson, whose book "The Argonauts" is coming in May; Nick Montfort, who develops literary generators at MIT; Lambda Literary Award finalist poet Dawn Lundy Martin; game designer and author Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz; and Mark Tursi, a founding editor of Apostrophe Books.

The keynote will be delivered by Caribbean Canadian author M. NourbeSe Philip. The award-winning writer works in many forms -- poetry, performance, fiction, essay, criticism -- and often addresses issues of gender, race, slavery and colonialism. She speaks Saturday at 8 p.m.

The &Now conference has recently been held at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Université de la Sorbonne, Paris. The last time it was in Southern California was 2011, when it was hosted by UC San Diego.

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