The Writer as Sociopath

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

This panel will consider the cases of writers who have used their platforms to create fictions of self—to misrepresent, self-justify, even blatantly lie about their own lives and realities. The panel is open to considering any act of writing sociopathy, from memoir (e.g., M.E. Thomas’s 2013 Confessions of a Sociopath or Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal) to fictional works that inhabit the minds of sociopaths (e.g., A Clockwork Orange, Gone Girl) to literary fakers (e.g., James Frey, Danny Santiago, JT LeRoy, Caroline Calloway). Is writing in itself an act of misrepresentation bordering on psychopathy? This panel is asked to investigate such issues as literary hoaxes, memoir and identity, and question of whether writing is inherently a form of the “long con.”