2018 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.

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 as a pdf here.


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

Gunnison, Colorado – March 15, 2017 – 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.

On a short trip into one of Colorado’s most beautiful summer valleys, aspiring novelists, screenwriters, poets, creative nonfiction authors, educators, editors, critics, and anyone who loves the written word can meet and work with a national roster of authors and teachers, all at an affordable price.

Set in the Gunnison Valley of southwest Colorado on the campus of Western State Colorado University, the conference is part of Western’s low-residency Graduate Program in Creative Writing and is also sponsored by 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 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.

The general registration fee for all four days is an affordable $300 before July 1, and there are substantial general registration scholarships for Western students and faculty, K12 Educators, and Gunnison Valley full-time residents. In addition to attending the scores of general-admission events, participants can sign up for three-day workshops and manuscript reviews with visiting writers, publishers and agents for an additional fee.

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

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 total worldwide gross of more than $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. In addition to his talk and a screening, the conference will present the staged reading world premiere of a one-act play by Reiss, It’s All in the Execution, with Sam Robards and Andrew Sellon.

The conference also features a three-day workshop, “Developing, Writing and Launching Your Screenplay,” led by Trai Cartwright, a 25-year entertainment industry veteran. While in Los Angeles, Cartwright was a screenwriter, independent film producer, and story consultant and development executive for HBO, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, New Lines Cinema, and 20th Century Fox. She is the screenwriter for Secret Ellington and Cheap Cabernet, two Colorado-based films, and is co-founder of both the Colorado Script Exchange and the Colorado Smart Film Investment Coalition, a coalition of professional media-makers dedicated to advising, incubating, and elevating the developing Colorado independent media-making community.

All film 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.

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 three-day critical seminar with Pulitzer Prize-nominee Clay Reynolds, a one-day workshop with international best-seller Kevin Anderson, and workshops with Western faculty Michaela Roessner and Candace Nadon.

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 many nationally prominent poet/critics each year. The Symposium has been a great success, with papers often appearing in Western’s international journal of poetry, criticism, and reviews, THINK. This year’s symposium includes papers by Director Jan Schreiber, with Emily GrosholzFrederick TurnerTom CableNatalie GerberMarilyn TaylorJulie KaneWilliam Tyson Hausdoerffer, and Symposium co-founder David J. Rothman.

In addition to the Symposium, the conference will 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. Other panels include explorations of poetry and philosophy, comic poetry, and why translation of the classics still inspires, with many of the Symposium poets participating, along with others such as Art Goodtimes and Uche Ogbuji.

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 JohnstunValerie Lester, Alissa Johnson, George Sibley, Mark Todd, Brian Calvert, Kelsey Bennett, and more.

In Publishing, the conference keynote is Sandra Bond, Director of the Sandra Bond Literary Agency in Denver. Bond was the program administrator at the University of Denver's Publishing Institute from 2005-2009, and is one of the preeminent agents in the region. She will also teach a three-day workshop with a focus on publishing in the modern world. One-day workshops, presentations and panels will be led by Larry Meredith, a co-founder of Writing the Rockies and the Publisher and Editor of Raspberry Creek Books, along with Mark Todd (Western Press Books), Danny Rosen (Lithic Press), Uche Ogbuji (Poetry Voice), and others. Also this year for the first time, the publishing track will include a panel by three Western Genre Fiction MFA alumni, all of whom are now publishing widely: Chris Barili (’16), Nathan Beauchamp (’15), and Michael Pool (’15).

This year marks the 3rd Annual New Opera Workshop, featuring Lottie Silks, a one-act opera with music by Jay Parrotta and a libretto by Western Poetry and Fiction student Enid HoldenThe Music Director is again Ben Makino, who serves as Music Director of Opera Memphis, and the Stage Director is Andrew Sellon. Singers include members of the Central City Opera and The Crested Butte Music Festival Opera Studio.

In another Colorado premiere, the conference presents a staged reading of a new 75-minute play by New York actor and Western faculty member Andrew SellonThrough the Looking-Glass Darkly, or Lewis Carroll and the Pursuit of Innocence. His play is about the real story behind the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its equally famous sequel.

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

Writing the Rockies 2017 will be one of the most memorable literary gatherings in the entire region, including far more events than can be listed here. Join us for five days of reading, writing, and conversation in one of America’s most beautiful summer valleys.



      David J. Rothman, Conference Director / 970-943-2058 / drothman@western.edu

      Mark Todd, Conference Coordinator / 970-943-2016 / mtodd@western.edu

Register Now for Writing the Rockies