17th Annual Writing the Rockies conference set for July 20 – 24

Gunnison, Colorado – Now in its 17th year, Writing the Rockies (July 20 – 24, 2016) 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 and pitch sessions.

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, agents 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 Hollywood writer JD Payne, Crested Butte Film Festival Director Michael Brody, Gunnison local Alan Wartes, and others. Western’s noted faculty, JS Mayank and Bob Shayne, will lead workshops and panels as well. The screenwriting keynote speaker is JD Payne, a member of the first writing team on one of this summer’s major releases, Star Trek Beyond.

Offerings in Genre Fiction include a keynote address by former President of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Robin Wayne Bailey, a critical seminar with Pulitzer Prize-nominee Clay Reynolds, and workshops with Western faculty: Russell Davis (also a former President of SFWA), Michaela Roessner, Candace Nadon and Stacia Deutsch.

The conference will also be presenting the 2nd Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing (the only award of its kind) to a third former SFWA President, James Gunn, who will also be reading and teaching at the conference.

This year’s Poetry keynote is Julie Kane, gifted poet, critic, teacher and former Poet Laureate of Louisiana. For the past six 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 Contemporary Poetry Review. Last fall, a selection of papers from the last several years began to appear regularly in THINK, which Western has acquired from founding Publisher and Editor Christine Yurick. This year’s symposium includes papers by Director Jan Schreiber, with Emily Grosholz, Frederick Turner, Tom Cable, Natalie Gerber, Paul Edwards, Robert Maranto, Richard Wakefield and Frederick Turner.

In addition to the Symposium, the conference will also offer three-day poetry workshops and critical seminars led by Emily Rolfe Grosholz, Bruce Bennett, Julie Kane and Christopher Norris, along with a seminar on the teaching of poetry in K12 schools led by noted educator Jamie Highfill. Panels include other poets such as A. M. Juster, John Talbot, Art Goodtimes, Wendy Videlock, Conference Director David J. Rothman, Jan Schreiber, Niles Ritter, Frederick Turner and more.

This year’s Creative Nonfiction offerings are significantly expanded, and include a keynote address by New York Times best-selling author Broughton Coburn, along with workshops and panels featuring Kase Johnstun, Kelsey Bennett and Allisa Johsnon.

In Publishing, the conference includes a keynote from Rebecca McEwen, the Editor in Chief of Fulcrum Publishing, along with 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 such as Fred Ramey, Danny Rosen, Stephen J. McConnell, David Trendler, Kyle Harvey, David Zimmerman, and more.

This year marks the 2nd Annual New Opera Workshop, featuring The Price of Pomegranates, a one-act opera with music by Jerome Malek and a libretto by Western Poetry MFA alumna Susan Spear. The production features several singers from Central City Opera.

This year’s Writing the Rockies conference 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.