The intensive conference welcomes beginners, published writers, teachers, students, and anyone else who believes in the magic and power of the written word.
Mark Todd, the conference organizer, is a widely published author and longtime Western faculty member. He has brought together more than 25 writers, publishers and editors to create the region’s preeminent literary gathering.
Faculty members include Western MFA professors, along with a distinguished roster of guests with expertise in fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, poetry and publishing. The faculty helps participant writers at all levels hone their craft through workshops, tutorials and seminars. They also mix with participants during events outside the formal sessions. Participants can even schedule pitch sessions with national agents and publishers.
A special presentation by actor and producer Sam Robards is set for 4:30 Thursday, July 24, in Taylor Hall's Studio Theatre.
Fiction faculty include:
- Russell Davis, director of Western’s MFA in Fiction program.
- Michaela Rossner and Diana Pharaoh Francis, also members of Western’s MFA faculty.
- Fiction keynote speaker Joe Haldeman, author of the Forever War series and five-time winner of both the Nebula and Hugo awards.
- Diana Tixier Herald, one of America’s leading experts on trends in genre fiction.
Screenwriting faculty include:
- J. S. Mayank, director of Western’s MFA Screenwriting program.
- Western faculty members Jack Lucido.
- Michael Brody, director of the Crested Butte Film Festival.
- Screenwriting keynote speaker Joel Thompson, whose credits include “House MD,” “Boomtown,” “Battlestar Galactica” and Steven Spielberg’s “Falling Skies” series.
Western’s Fifth Annual Poetry Symposium brings together eight distinguished poets and critics:
- Keynote speaker Frederick Turner is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. His books include Shakespeare and the Nature of Time, Beauty: The Value of Values and Epic: Form, Content, and History, as well as several volumes of poetry.
- David J. Rothman, director of Western’s MFA program.
- David Yezzi, a member of the MFA faculty.
- Jan Schreiber, symposium co-chair.
- Guests Marilyn Taylor, Kim Bridgford, Natalie Gerber and Tom Cable.
For a full list of speakers and their biographical information, please click here.
New this year is a group of K through 12 educators discussing the teaching of poetry. These two sessions are chaired by Dave Reynolds, who serves as chair of English at the Fountain Valley School. Other panelists include Western Poetry MFA alumnae Malinda Miller and Laura Stuckey, along with Benjamin Dancer, who teaches at the Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood.
The conference will feature an impressive gathering of eight publishers, agents and business experts, including Julie Luek, Leah Rogin-Roper, Caleb J. Seeling, Greg Smith, Sam Smith, John Steele and Terri Wolf. All have worked nationally and internationally. The publishing keynote speaker is John Helfers, an author and editor who spent 14 years working for Martin H. Greenberg at Tekno Books, the largest commercial book packager in the nation. There, he edited more than 20 short-story anthologies and many other books.
Taken together, the conference faculty and speakers have written, published or produced hundreds, if not thousands, of books, films and shows. And they are here to meet you. Join us for what promises to be the Gunnision Valley’s literary event of the year.