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Northwestern University Summer Writers' Conference

Keynotes

Keynotes

Each day of the conference includes a luncheon and keynote session featuring writers reading from their own work and discussing the craft of writing.

Conference registration is required to attend the keynote sessions.

Thursday, August 9

Embracing the Midwest: Five Writers Discuss the Nuance, Contradictions, & Beauty of the Region

with Martha BayneShannon CasonChristine RiceJeremy T. Wilson, and Paul Durica (moderator)

Where does the Midwest begin and end? Is it rural or urban? Factories or farmland? And what, exactly, makes a Midwestern writer? And do we have a chip on our shoulder? The Midwest’s literary identity is more diverse than the standard associations with stoic farmers and youthful talent just itching to head for a coast. Toni Morrison is a Midwestern writer and so are Roxane Gay, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Richard Powers, and many, many more. In this panel Martha Bayne, Shannon Cason, Christine Rice, Jeremy T. Wilson, and Paul Durica will read from their work and tackle these and other questions, to try and understand how literature (and other art) both reifies and challenges our understanding of the region.

Friday, August 10

The Uses of Memory

with Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves is the author of King Me, and his poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Best American Poetry, and the Indiana Review, among other publications. Reeves was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation in 2008; he is also the recipient of two Bread Loaf Scholarships and a Cave Canem Fellowship. In 2012, Reeves received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize for his poem “The Field Museum.” He is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a 2014–2015 Hodder Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University.

Saturday, August 11

From Singular to Shared: The Combined Mind of Collaborative Writing

with Anne-Marie Akin, Laura JonesSimone Muench, Christine Pacyk, and Virginia Smith Rice

What are the possibilities, pleasures, and potential pitfalls of collaboration? Among the jointly-authored pieces in the new anthology They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing, there are collaborations of correspondence, call and response, and linguistic pas de deux. What’s most striking is the myriad ways in which differing minds are able to converge and negotiate terrains to create a seamless point of view that is neither one person or the other, but a new voice—a third-tongued entity. Four authors from, and one of the editors of, this anthology are here to read and discuss the countless prospects and complexities of collaborative writing, as well as speak to its incorporation into the classroom.

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