A Black cis woman, in her mid-30s, with short black hair and rectangular glasses.




Michelle Alipao Chikaonda (she/her/hers) is a nonfiction writer from Blantyre, Malawi, currently living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to being a 2019 resident at The Seventh Wave’s Rhinebeck Residency, she is a Voices of Our Nations [VONA] Workshop fellow, a Tin House Summer Workshop alumna, and has presented at several Association of Writing and Writing Programs [AWP] conferences. She teaches regularly with Blue Stoop, a writing hub for the Philadelphia literary community, and has served as a teaching assistant, student mentor, and workshop instructor at Mighty Writers, a Philadelphia nonprofit teaching writing and critical thinking to children and teens. A contributing editor for nonfiction at Electric Literature, Michelle is also currently published at Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, Catapult, the Broad Street Review, Business Insider, and Africa is A Country, among others.

Read more on www.michellechikaonda.work.

SESSION: A Glitch in Time: Time Loop Films as Narrative Vehicles for the Pandemic Essay

A little over two years since the first global lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic began, we are still trying to figure out how exactly to write about what happened. Though there are many writers who have written beautifully and directly about this experience, many others still find that writing head-on about it is like staring into the sun: it hurts to keep one's eyes on it for more than a moment. In this craft session we will discuss how to write about difficult experiences, with a focus on the pandemic, by taking a sidelong approach—conveying ourselves to the heart of the matter by meditating on media outside of the written word. This session's particular focus will be on time loop films, such as Groundhog Day and Palm Springs, looking at the particular elements in those films that provide ideal starting points for writing about the pandemic, and review a couple of examples of this. In so doing we will learn how to identify similar elements in other media we engage with, facilitating our own future literary work in telling the story of this period in all of our lives. This session will include writing exercises, with the goal of attendees having work to continue with in their own time afterward.