Keynote Speakers

Conference Keynote: Duane L. Vandenbusche

Wednesday, July 19 / 7:15

University Center Ballroom

"An Introduction to the Gunnison Country"

The Western Slope's leading historian offers a look at one of the most beautiful mountainous regions of the United States, discussing Native Americans, the arrival of the mountain men, gold and silver mining, the Cattle Kingdom, immigration, the history of Western State, and skiing in the Elk Mountains.

Duane Vandenbusche
Duane Vandenbusche has been Professor of History at Western State Colorado University since 1962 (more than half the lifetime of the institution), and is the author of eleven books, including Early Days in the Gunnison Country, A Land Alone: Colorado's Western Slope, The Gunnison Country, and Western State College: Mountain Mecca. He coached the Western State cross country and track and field teams for 37 years, winning 12 NCAA national championships and turning out out four Olympians.







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Poetry Keynote: Alice Quinn

 Wednesday, July 19 / 8 pm

University Center Theater

"The Pleasures, Rewards and Challenges of a Literary Life"

Alice Quinn explores aspects of her life and work, beginning in 1972 in a great publishing house (Alfred A. Knopf), then with an extraordinary magazine (The New Yorker), the nation’s oldest nonprofit devoted to poetry (The Poetry Society of America), and the Writing Division of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where she has taught for twenty-seven years. She will also touch upon the ever-increasing role of  literary archives in the world of scholarship, with a special focus on the Elizabeth Bishop Papers at the Archives and Special Collections Library at Vassar College. Throughout, she considers what it means to live a literary life in America now, as an editor, teacher, scholar and advocate for the arts.

Alice Quinn
Alice Quinn is executive director of the Poetry Society of America, where she oversees an award-winning Chapbook Fellowship Contest and more than forty programs annually nationwide. She received a BA from Manhattanville College as well as an Honorary Doctorate in 2007. She also attended New York University for graduate study in English Literature. She is the editor of Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), and she is currently working on an edition of Elizabeth Bishop’s journals and notebooks. From 1987 to 2007 she was poetry editor of the New Yorker, where for many years she was also a senior editor in the fiction department and an editor of memoirs, profiles, book reviews, and a variety of critics’ pieces, working with, among others, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, Rick Moody, Andrea Lee, Julie Hecht, Muriel Spark, Robert Stone, Joan Acocella, Anthony Lane, and Jamaica Kincaid. Prior to that, she worked at Alfred A. Knopf (1972-1986), publishing fiction, biographies, works of cultural history, and books on American folk art while editing the Knopf Poetry Series, which included Amy Clampitt, Edward Hirsch, Sharon Olds, and Marie Ponsot. She has lectured on poetry and given talks on publishing at many colleges and cultural institutions. Her articles on and interviews with poets and artists have appeared in ArtforumThe ForwardPoetry Ireland, the Canadian National Post, the New Yorker, and the New Yorker Online.

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Publishing Keynote: ​Sandra Bond

Thursday, July 20 / 1:00 pm

Taylor Hall Studio Theater

"What in the World Does an Agent Do?"

Do you need one? Are they worth their 15% commission ... OR, are they worth their weight in gold?

Sandra Bond
Sandra Bond started her agency in Denver after working for the Jody Rein Books agency. She was the program administrator at the University of Denver's Publishing Institute from 2005-2009, and she is now a guest lecturer there every summer. She and her associate agent, Becky LeJeune, represent adult, young adult and middle-grade fiction, both literary, commercial and genre (mystery, thriller, horror, fantasy, sci-fi), and many categories of nonfiction, and they are looking for writers who truly have studied the craft of writing. Sandra was born and raised in Denver and has a degree in microbiology from the University of Colorado. Before pursuing a career in publishing, she was a film and television script analyst in Los Angeles.






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Creative Nonfiction Keynote: Sean Prentiss

Friday, July 21 / 6:00 pm

Taylor Hall Studio Theater

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: A New Philosophy for Understanding Truth and Creative Nonfiction"

In this craft talk, Sean Prentiss examines the science behind how humans construct memory, the evolution/distortion of memories, and the failings associated with memory. The talk next examines how the complicated nature of memory effects both our writing of creative nonfiction and the reader's understanding of what is true, false, or something else entirely. The talk ends with a call for a new way to view creative nonfiction--as something greater than truth, fact, or fiction.

Sean Prentiss
Sean Prentiss is the award winning author of Finding Abbey: a Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, a memoir about Edward Abbey and the search for home. Finding Abbey won the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award for History/Biography, the Utah Book Award for Nonfiction, and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Biography. It was also a Vermont Book Award and Colorado Book Award finalist. Prentss is the co-author of the environmental writing textbook, Environmental and Nature Writing: A Craft Guide and Anthology, and the co-editor of The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, a creative nonfiction craft anthology. He and his family live on a small lake in northern Vermont and he teaches at Norwich University and in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Genre Fiction Keynote: David Anthony Durham

Saturday, July 22 / 1:00 pm

Taylor Hall Studio Theater

“The Virtues of the Multi-Genre Toolbox”

As a graduate MFA student of creative writing, David Anthony Durham had his sights firmly set on a career writing literary fiction -- the dreary, character-driven, plot-averse, issue-laden, coming of age amongst troubled familial situations type of literary fiction. Two unpublished novels and drawers full of rejection letters later, he needed to find a better way forward. He’ll discuss one of the key things that jumpstarted his career –- a slowly evolving admiration for genre fiction and an interest in writing across genres.

David Anthony Durham
David Anthony Durham is the author of seven novels: The RisenThe Sacred BandThe Other LandsAcacia (John W Campbell Award Winner, Finalist for the Prix Imaginales), Pride of Carthage (Finalist for the Legacy Award), Walk Through Darkness (NY Times Notable Book) and Gabriel’s Story (NY Times Notable Book, Legacy Award Winner). His writing ranges from literary novels of the African-American experience, to historical fiction set in the ancient world, to fantasy and science fiction. His novels have been published in French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. He writes for the Wild Cards series of collaborative novels, edited by George RR Martin, with stories appearing in Fort FreakLowballHigh Stakes and forthcoming in Texas Hold ‘Em. Other short fiction has been anthologized in UnboundUnfetteredIt’s All Love, and in Gumbo: A Celebration of African American Writing. Four of his novels have been optioned for development as feature films. He has taught at the Clarion Science Fiction Workshops, at the University of Maryland, the University of Massachusetts, Colorado College, the Zora Neale Hurston / Richard Wright Foundation, Cal State University and Hampshire College. He’s currently on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA Program of the University of Southern Maine, where he often works with aspiring genre writers in the program’s Popular Fiction Concentration, and he will be joining the MFA program of the University of Nevada, Reno this fall.

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Screenwriting Keynote: Mike Reiss

Sunday, July 23 / 1:00 pm

 University Center Theater

"Writing for The Simpsons, The Minions, Joan Rivers, and Other Cartoon Characters"

Multiple Grammy-winner Mike Reiss will discuss the range of his career, from writing for Johnny Carson, to sitcoms, to The Simpsons, to animated films.

Mike Reiss Simpsonized
If you are a fan of animated comedy, chances are you have laughed at a joke written by Mike Reiss, a four-time Emmy award-winning producer, a 28-year veteran of The Simpsons and a contributor to more than two dozen animated films, including four Ice Age movies, two Despicable Me movies, The Lorax, Rio, Kung Fu Panda 3, and The Simpsons Movie, with a worldwide gross of $8 billion. He was the showrunner behind season four of The Simpsons, which Entertainment Weekly has called "the greatest season of the greatest show in history." Mike has also written seventeen children’s books, including the best-seller How Murray Saved Christmas and the award-winning Late for School.



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Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information