Ahh, AWP just around the corner which means writing minds are thinking about the summer and all those glorious hours to fill. This is the time of year you might be looking for a writing conference or two. I generally think they're a good idea as a place to find inspiration and community. There are still scholarships available at some places, so look carefully.
This summer, I'm pretty much staying in the West. We'll be re-visiting some of our favorite places and looking to refill my own inspiration reservoir. I will offer some recommendations at the end of this posting, but if you're looking to work with me, I will be teaching at two conferences and speaking at a third.
June 17-24, 2012
If you can't find inspiration in Aspen, you won't find it anywhere. This is a good conference for making connections. They invite a top-notch group of authors, editors, and agents. (I actually found my agent Julie Barer there.) The readings and conversations there are amazing. They have not yet announced their guests for the literary festival, but from what I'm hearing, it will be an amazing group.
July 9-15, 2012
I was so pleased to be invited to the 25th anniversary of the Fishtrap Summer Writing Conference. This one is dearest to my heart and closest to the way I work. Here, it's all about inspiration. These are the blue-collar writers, the people who are trying to tell their stories and opening their hearts to the world. The participant readings routinely break my heart. This year, I'm bringing my pal Jamie Ford to teach a workshop as well. Participants can camp out in tents or yurts, we all eat camp-style food, and then gather around a firepit for song and community when the readings are over. No cellphone, spotty internet. It's summer camp for writers in the truest sense.
July 20-22, 2012
I am a keynote speaker at this conference and I'm excited about it since since I've heard such amazing things. It will be my first time, so I don't have many words of advice to you other than it looks like a seriously amazing gathering for anyone working in nonfiction. I mean, c'mon! Isabel Wilkerson!
Other summer writing conferences I can highly recommend are:
Bread Loaf Writing Conference, Middlebury VT, Aug. 15-25, 2012. Every writer should make a trip up the mountain at least once. It's a lifechanger.
Tin House Summer Writing Conference, Portland OR, July 8-15, 2012. The Portland-Brooklyn mashup means you get exposed to some of the most exciting writers in the business. Best reading venue ever.
Squaw Valley Writers Conference, Squaw Valley CA, July 7-14, 2012. Rotating faculty means you get to work with several faculty members. And shared lodging means you get to make lots of connections.
Summer camp isn't just for kids!
Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat: If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.