Writers Conference Attendees Discuss Shaping Narratives, Poetry, Literary Life in the Digital Age

More than 40 writers, including two alumni and one staff member, attended the 52nd Annual Wesleyan Writers Conference June 13-17 on campus. The conference welcomes experienced writers, new writers, and everyone interested in the writer’s craft.

Seventy-five writers, including five Wesleyan alumni, attended the 62nd Annual Wesleyan Writers Conference June 13–17 on campus. The conference welcomes experienced writers, new writers, and anyone interested in the writer’s craft. Pictured (from left) are Veda Pendleton McClain ’79, P’00; Collin Andrews ’18; and Ray Peters ’18.

 

Daily seminars and workshops focused on the novel, short story, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, and literary journalism. Topics included the future of fiction, writing about social issues, shaping narratives, the art of the interview, literary life in the digital age, how to sell your book, writing about science and medicine, film and TV writing, travel writing and more.

Daily seminars and workshops focused on the novel, short story, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, and literary journalism. Topics included the future of fiction, writing about social issues, shaping narratives, the art of the interview, literary life in the digital age, how to sell your book, writing about science and medicine, film and TV writing, travel writing, and more. Pictured is Joan DeConnick from Pennsylvania.

Journalist and author Lis Harris taught sessions on Literary Journalism and Memoir. Harris was a staff writer at The New Yorker for 25 years, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The World Policy Journal, and the Wilson Quarterly. She is currently a professor of writing at Columbia University and is working on a book about three generations of a Palestinian family and three generations of an Israeli family.

Seminars were led by award-winning writers who are also generous teachers. Each member of the conference faculty led a daily seminar, usually including a short lecture, discussion, and writing exercises. Journalist and author Lis Harris (pictured) taught sessions on literary journalism and memoir. Harris was a staff writer at The New Yorker for 25 years, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, the World Policy Journal, and Wilson Quarterly. She is currently a professor of writing at Columbia University and is working on a book about three generations of a Palestinian family and three generations of an Israeli family.

Salvatore Scibona taught sessions on novel and short story writing. His first novel, The End, was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Young Lions Fiction Award. He has won fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as a Whiting Writers’ Award. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, and Harper’s and has won a Pushcart Prize and an O. Henry Award. His new novel, The Volunteer, will be published in 2019.

Honor Moore, who is the author of three poetry collections and two memoirs, taught sessions on poetry. Her memoir, The Bishop’s Daughter, was named an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times, a “Favorite Book of 2008” by the Los Angeles Times, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In addition, her play Mourning Pictures was produced on Broadway and published in The New Women’s Theatre: Ten Plays by Contemporary American Women, which she edited.

M.K. Foster is one of four writing fellows who attended the conference.

M.K. Foster from Alabama was one of four writing fellows who attended the conference.

Chukwuemeka Uwakaneme ’16 of New Jersey and nonfiction writing fellow Chris Ciarmiello attended a poetry session.

Attendees also had the opportunity to meet privately with a faculty member or teaching fellow to discuss their manuscripts.

Attendees also had the opportunity to meet privately with a faculty member or teaching fellow to discuss their manuscripts.

Veda Pendleton McClain ’79, P’00 (pictured) takes notes during the poetry session. Wesleyan alumni David Hallett ’88 and Stephanie Mohr ’93 also attended the Writers Conference.

Peter Godwin, the newly-elected president of PEN American Center and a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, is an award winning foreign correspondent, author, documentary filmmaker, and screenwriter. After practicing human rights law in Zimbabwe, he became both a foreign and war correspondent for The London Sunday Times and the BBC, and has reported from over 60 countries. He also served as chief correspondent for BBC television’s Assignment. The Industry of Death won the gold medal for investigative film at the New York Film Festival.Godwin taught sessions on memoir and journalism.

Peter Godwin taught sessions on memoir and journalism. A former president of PEN American Center and a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, he is an award-winning foreign correspondent, author, documentary filmmaker, and screenwriter. After practicing human rights law in Zimbabwe, he became both a foreign and war correspondent for The London Sunday Times and the BBC, and has reported from over 60 countries. He also served as chief correspondent for BBC television’s Assignment. His film The Industry of Death won the gold medal for investigative film at the New York Film Festival.

George Searles introduces himself while Katia Porter, executive assistant in Wesleyan's Investment Office listens in. Porter, a current Graduate Liberal Studies student, received a scholarship to attend the conference.

Katia Porter, executive assistant in Wesleyan’s Investment Office, listens as fellow attendee George Searles of New York introduces himself. Porter, a current Graduate Liberal Studies student, received a scholarship to attend the conference.

Anne Greene, the University Professor of English and director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference, shares a hug with conference attendee Mirko Rucnov, visiting assistant professor of film studies. (Photos by Olivia Drake)