2017 Writing the Rockies Poster and Press Release

Please download, save, print and forward this poster to anyone who might be interested in attending Writing the Rockies.

Please click here to view a printable pdf. [Coming soon.]

Please click here to view a printable copy of this summer's program booklet. [Coming in early summer]

What follows is the text of our current press release, which can also be downloaded here. 


18th Annual Writing the Rockies conference set for July 19 – 23 on Western’s Gunnison Campus

Gunnison, Colorado – Now in its 18th year, Writing the Rockies (July 19 – 23, 2017) is one of the largest and most diverse writers’ conferences in the Rocky Mountain region.

Set in the beautiful Gunnison Valley of southwest Colorado on the campus of Western State Colorado University, the conference takes place in cooperation with Western’s low-residency Graduate Program in Creative Writing and the Department of Communication Arts, Language and Literature.

Events at the conference correspond to Western’s graduate program tracks in Genre Fiction, Screenwriting, Poetry, and Publishing and include a wide range of workshops, lectures, seminars, readings, and film screenings that create an intense, collegial writers’ community and retreat across four days. There is also a track at the conference on Creative Nonfiction with an Emphasis on Writing about the Natural World, which is in development as a concentration within the graduate program as well.

In addition to attending general-admission events and enrolling in one-day and three-day workshops and seminars, participants can also sign up for manuscript reviews.

Conference faculty and speakers are highly distinguished and have published in every major genre, including fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, journalism, criticism and scholarship, as well as having experience as editors, publishers, teachers, and in other industry roles.

The conference’s offerings in Screenwriting are substantial. Screenings take place in Western’s University Theater, a former first-run facility on Western’s campus, and will include a range of independent films, presented by screenwriter/directors and producer/actors such as Crested Butte Film Festival Director Michael Brody, Graduate Program faculty member Bob Shayne, and others. Western’s noted faculty, JS Mayank and Bob Shayne, will lead workshops and panels as well. The screenwriting keynote speaker is Mike Reiss. If you are a fan of animated comedy, chances are you have laughed at a joke written by 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 LoraxRioKung 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.

Offerings in Genre Fiction include a keynote address by best-selling, prize-winning author David Anthony Durham, of whom George R. R. Martin has said "David Anthony Durham has serious chops. I can't wait to read whatever he writes next." There is also a critical seminar with Pulitzer Prize-nominee Clay Reynolds, and workshops with Western faculty: Russell Davis (former President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), Michaela Roessner, and Candace Nadon.

The conference will present the 3rd annual Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing (the only award of its kind) to a recipient not yet announced.

This year’s Poetry keynote is Alice Quinn, the executive director of the Poetry Society America, former poetry editor of the New Yorker, and editor of Elizabeth Bishop's unpublished works. For the past seven years, the poetry track of Writing the Rockies has included “The Critical Path,” a symposium on poetry criticism that features nine nationally prominent poet/critics each year, giving each a full hour for a presentation. The Symposium has been a great success, with papers often appearing in the program's international journal of poetry, criticism and reviews, THINK. This year’s symposium includes papers by Director Jan Schreiber, with Emily Grosholz, Frederick Turner, Tom Cable, Natalie Gerber, Marilyn Taylor, Julie Kane, William Tyson Hausdoerffer, and Symposium co-founder David J. Rothman.

In addition to the Symposium, the conference will also offer three-day poetry workshops and critical seminars led by Bruce Bennett and Jodie Hollander, with a special roundtable on prosody led by Tom Cable and Natalie Gerber. Panels include explorations of poetry and philosophy, comic poetry, and why translation of the classics still inspires.

This year’s Creative Nonfiction offerings are significantly expanded, and include a keynote address by Sean Prentiss, author of Finding Abbey: A Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, along with workshops and panels featuring Kase Johnstun, Valerie Lester, Alissa Johnson, George Sibley, Mark Todd, Brian Calvert, Kelsey Bennett and more.

In Publishing, the conference includes presentations and panels by Caleb Seeling, editor of Colorado’s Conundrum Press and Director of Western’s Certificate in Publishing, and other editors, agents and publishers.

This year marks the 3rd Annual New Opera Workshop, featuring Lottie Silks, a one-act opera with music by Jay Perrotta and a libretto by Western Poetry and Fiction student Enid Holden. The Music Director is again Ben Makino, who serves as Music Director of Opera Memphis.

Writing the Rockies 2017 will be one of the most memorable literary gatherings in the entire region. Join us for a long weekend of reading, writing, and conversation in one of America’s most beautiful summer valleys.



David J. Rothman

Conference Director




Mark Todd

Conference Coordinator