This is the talk I'd like to hear:
Megan Whalen Turner: Reality in Suspension
If our fiction is a solution of reality dissolved in fantasy, what particles of reality are suspended there? Are these what Coleridge suggested in Biographia Literaria must be transferred “to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith”? Love, Loss, and Bad Judgment are embedded in our fiction, as well as historical events, snapshots of Greece, Oxford, The University of Waterloo, and things even more prosaic – what we had for dinner last night, noses, bilateral symmetry, and the assumptions of the day. The reader is the catalyst that acts in this solution. What precipitates then, when a reader reads?
Just in case the name Megan Whalen Turner rings no bells, she is the author of some of my favorite books ever -- The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia.
But perhaps more people will be eager to go to the Friday night keynote address:
PHILIP PULLMAN Poco a Poco: The Fundamental Particles of Narrative
Philip Pullman will look at the smallest possible units of story and, taking one such particle as an example, show what these microscopic events do in the context of a longer narrative, and how they acquire meaning, emotional power and metaphorical complexity.
Here's the link to the full program.