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Posted 06.03.08

Annual Writers Conference Features New One-Day Festival

A special one-day “Festival of the New” and National Book Award-winning novelists Ha Jin (pictured at left) and Robert Stone will be among the highlights, along with more than 20 writers, editors, and agents, at the 52nd annual Wesleyan Writers Conference, June 15-20 on campus.

The nationally-recognized writers program features classes, workshops, manuscript advice, guest speakers, readings and talks with editors and agents. It welcomes new writers, experienced writers and everyone interested in the writer’s craft.

“At the conference you not only work with remarkable writers like Ha Jin, Robert Stone (pictured at right), but you also make close friends you'll talk to for years,” says program director Anne Greene. “Both new and experienced writers value the conference as a place share their experience and gain some perspective on their work.”

Faculty writers will also include Katha Pollitt, a poet, essayist, and columnist/blogger for The Nation; Ravi Shankar, the producer/founding editor of the International Online Journal of Arts and Literature; Roxana Robinson, author of short story collection A Perfect Stranger and the forthcoming novel Cost; Honor Moore (pictured below), author of the forthcoming memoir The Bishop's Daughter; William Finnegan, a staff writer at The New Yorker; among others.

Topics include the novel, short story, poetry, journalism, memoir, biography and longform nonfiction. Eiko Otake, world-renowned dance artist, offers a workshop on movement and language. Other hot topics include graphic novels, publishing in the digital age, freelance writing, and publishing your first book.

A one-day program on June 19, titled “Festival of the New,” welcomes people who cannot attend the week-long program. From 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., participants will take part in classes and discussion sessions on novel and short story writing, nonfiction and memoir, journalism and freelance writing, and a special words-movement-translation workshop. Festival of the New also includes panels on publishing and new media, agents and editors and a keynote lecture and book signing by Ha Jin.

Festival faculty include Jess Row, fiction writer selected as one of Granta's 2007 Best New American Novelists; Roya Hakakian, poet, documentary film-maker, and author; Alexandra Peers, noted freelance writer and former editor, reporter and columnist at The Wall Street Journal; Eiko Otake, dance/theater artist; Johnny Temple of Akashic Books, publisher of urban literary fiction and political nonfiction; Amanda Stern of New York City’s Happy Ending reading and music series; John Kulka, expert on digital publishing and founding editor of the Best New American Voices anthology; agents Julie Barer, Esmond Harmsworth and Daniel Mandel; and editors Denise Roy of Simon and Schuster, Elizabeth England of the literary magazine Epiphany, and John Kulka of Harvard University Press.

Participants will have a chance to talk with the speakers during the day-long series. Guests are welcome to attend any or all of the events.

"The Festival of the New, an intensive one-day event, is a wonderful chance to meet celebrated new writers and learn about fiction, nonfiction, journalism, freelance writing and new forms of publishing,” Greene says. “We're bringing agents, editors, and publishers as well as special guests Ha Jin and dance artist Eiko Otake, winner of a MacArthur fellowship, who explores movement, language, and performance.”

Advance registration is required for the full-week conference and the festival. The cost is $850 to $1,298 and scholarships are available.

For more information or to register for the conference call 860-685-3604 or go to
Information provided by Anne Greene. Photo of Robert Stone from booksoup.com.