December 3–5th 2021
(2–4th Northern Hemisphere time)

3 days
3 extraordinary keynotes
32 live panel sessions
10 hui (roundtables)
A library of 17 special pre-recorded panels

Kia ora e hoa mā

We are so thrilled to see you here at this archive site for the NonfictioNOW2021 conference, coming to us all from Aotearoa New Zealand. Welcome. For those newly joining us, NonfictioNOW is a regular gathering of over 400 nonfiction writers, teachers, readers and students from around the world in an effort to explore the past, present, and future of nonfiction. NonfictioNOW is unique in being neither a conventional academic conference nor a writers’ festival, but rather an inclusive conversation among peers, from well-established writers and artists to those just starting out.

In 2021, NonfictioNOW took a new form—adapting to the realities of the COVID pandemic while retaining the event’s spirit and integrity. Thanks to the brilliant work of our conference co-convenors, Ingrid Horrocks and Tina Makereti, and the Aotearoa Steering Committee, the schedule of events for this NonfictioNOW is as rich as ever.  We are grateful that they have steered the conference so graciously, in such difficult circumstances, so that we could meet to talk about one of our true loves: nonfiction.

Although we would have dearly loved to be meeting with you all in person in Wellington, we hope that this digital format will offer other benefits. It makes the conference accessible for all those who could never have been able to travel to Aotearoa, including students from around the world. And, since many of our panels discuss travel, the environment, and climate change, we are happy to ask less of our planet by staying home and powering our screen-machine with at least some renewable energy sources.

On behalf of the entire Board—Wendy S Walters, Patrick Madden, Elena Passarello, Robin Hemley, Heidi Stalla, as well as Ingrid and Tina, welcome! We look forward very much to seeing you, even if it is in a little square and in your nonfictional pyjamas.

Nicole Walker and David Carlin
Co-Presidents, NonfictioNOW

Tēnā koutou katoa, Talofa lava, Bula Vinaka, Fakaalofa lTēnā koutou katoa, Talofa lava, Bula Vinaka, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Fakatalofa atu, Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Mālō nī, Kia orana and warm Pacific greetings to you all! Nau mai hāere mai.

Welcome to the archive for NonfictioNOW2021. This event was held digitally from 3-5 December 2021, proudly hosted by Massey University from Aotearoa New Zealand, in partnership with RMIT University Writing and Publishing, Creative New Zealand, and Windham-Campbell Prizes.

It had been our hope to be able to welcome our friends and colleagues from all over the world to Aotearoa New Zealand — but we have not been immune from the pandemic and changed our plans many times! So NonfictioNOW 2021 instead came to people in their homes. We were very glad to be able to offer participants and audiences engagement with a range of distinct worldviews that can only be found on these shores, foregrounding first of all the Indigenous Māori mana whenua (traditional owners) of Aotearoa, our Pasifika and Pākehā whanau (family) and our settler populations. At the same time, because of the digital platform, we were also delighted to be able to engage in digital form with writers and nonfiction writing from around the globe.

Even more fantastic, we now have this incredible archive of the conversations that took place. We hope it will form a valuable resource for writers, students and teachers in years to come.

Here you can see our three brilliant keynote sessions with Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Behrouz Boochani, and Mary Cappello, who gave us an innovative, intimate digital ‘low-keynote’. You can watch over thirty of the panel conversations that took place live at the conference, and you can delve into our seventeen recorded panels. Only our hui (roundtable discussions) were not recorded, to allow for more intimate, private conversations to take place among conference participants.

In the end we had 601 registered attendees, including over 200 speakers. It was the biggest NFN to date, and certainly the most truly international.

Warmest wishes to our community in what continue to be difficult times. We look forward to talking more, and to the many conversations seeded at NFN2021.
In particular, look out for our tie-ins with Headland Journal, who are doing a special Nonfiction Issue, The Fourth Genre, who ended their deadline to allow for post-NFN submissions, and Sydney Review of Books, with whom we have collaborated to develop a stronger Trans-Tasman reviewing culture.

Kia manawanui, kia haumaru tātou – stay strong and safe,

Ingrid Horrocks and Tina Makereti

On behalf of the NonfictioNOW 2021 Aotearoa Conference Steering Committee and the NonfictioNOW International Board.