Artists today are grappling with their place in the current social and political landscape: when is art activism and when is it escapism? The fact is, as artists, we can take the risks that politicians won’t. Moreover, art can often reach people in ways that politics can't. As E. M. Forster once said, “Fiction is truer than history because it goes beyond the evidence.” That’s true of a lot of art, because a lot of art is about something that a lot of politics is not: empathy. In this keynote, Bohjalian will discuss how he has used fiction to address issues as diverse as genocide, domestic violence, and teen homelessness.