The 14th annual Taos Summer Writers' Conference is set at the Sagebrush Inn and Conference Center in Taos from July 15-22. Opening night kicks off with a buffet dinner and keynote reading by bestselling author Dani Shapiro, whose books include the memoirs Devotion and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Shapiro, a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure, has had work appear in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, New York Times Book Review and Los Angeles Times, among others.
Sponsored by the University of New Mexico Department of English, the Taos Summer Writers' Conference hosts workshops on a range of subjects, including short fiction, young adult fiction, the novel, poetry, memoir, travel memoir, screenwriting, prose style, and meditation and writing. Workshops include week-long classes, master classes, in addition to seven weekend workshops.
Early registration is encouraged as spots fill quickly and many classes are already full. A handful of spaces are still available in the following workshops:
Amy Beeder's "The Practice of Poetry"
Beeder is the author two books of poetry: Burn the Field and Now Make an Altar, both from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, AGNI, Nation, Pleiades, American Letters & Commentary, and other journals.
Hilda Raz's "Sensitive Materials: A Poetry Writing Workshop"
Raz was named poetry series editor for UNM Press in February. She is the author of five books of poetry, a memoir, and several edited anthologies.
Mark Sundeen's "The Good Journey: Writing Your Travel Memoir"
Sundeen's first book landed in the publishing world in 2000 from a dusty trailer in the Utah desert. "A riotous, beautiful, totally original road novel masquerading as a travel book," wrote George Saunders of Car Camping. His second book The Making of Toro (Simon & Schuster, 2003) garnered comparisons to Hunter S. Thompson and David Sedaris. Of Sundeen's new book, The Man Who Quit Money (Riverhead 2012), Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, "This is a beautiful, thoughtful and wonderful book. I suspect I may find myself thinking about it every day for the rest of my life." Sundeen's award-winning features and essays appear in the New York Times Magazine, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, McSweeney's and The Believer.
Sarah Sentilles' "Seen and Unseens: Writing the Spiritual Memoir"
Sentilles is a scholar of religion, an award-winning speaker, and the author of three books, including her recent memoir Breaking Up with God: A Love Story (HarperOne, 2011). She earned a bachelor's degree in literature from Yale and a master's and doctorate in theology from Harvard, where she was awarded the Billings Preaching Prize, was the managing editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and wrote a dissertation on the photographs from Abu Ghraib.
Carolyn Meyer's "What We Talk About When We Talk About YA Fiction"
Meyer has written more than 50 books for children and young adults. Cleopatra Confesses (Simon & Schuster) was published in 2011; The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) will be published in June 2012. Rio Grande Stories (Harcourt, 1992) is still used in schools throughout the country.
Ruth Ozeki's "Retraining the Writer's Mind"
Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, Zen Buddhist priest, and author of My Year of Meats (Viking/Penguin, 1998), and All Over Creation (Viking/Penguin, 2003). Her critically acclaimed novels have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. She is currently finishing a new novel about time.
Joy Harjo's master class in poetry
Harjo was born in Tulsa, Okla., and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her seven books of poetry include such well-known titles as How We Became Human- New and Selected Poems, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horses. Her awards include the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her newest publication, Crazy Brave, a memoir from W.W. Norton is due out this summer.
Les Standiford's master class "The Art and Craft of the Novel"
Standiford is the author of 20 novels and works of narrative non-fiction, including the John Deal thriller series and a pair of novels set in the American West: Black Mountain, and Spill, made into a feature film for which he wrote the screenplay. The Man Who Invented Christmas was a New York Times Editors Choice in 2008, and his most recent book, Bringing Adam Home was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Seller. He is a former Screenwriting Fellow and graduate of the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.
Space is also availability in several weekend classes. Please consult the Conference website for registration details at: www.unm.edu/~taosconf.
Several renowned agents and editors will also attend the Conference to deliver roundtable discussions and provide individual manuscript consultations with participants. Carole DeSanti, vice president, editor at large at Penguin Group, and agents Wendy Weil and Emily Forland from Wendy Weil Agency, Inc. will be there. Also in attendance will be Hilda Raz and Elise McHugh from UNM Press. Nightly readings by published authors are free and open to the public.
The conference's pristine setting in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains has attracted participants worldwide. This year's conference draws writers from all corners of the United States, and even from Australia and Egypt, and past Conferences have seen writers attend from as far away as New Zealand and Denmark. Established by Founding Director Sharon Oard Warner, the Conference emphasizes inclusivity and community through self-exploration and fellowships that are awarded annually. In addition to attending workshops and readings, participants have the opportunity to go on daily excursions to see a few of the sights in and around Taos. This year's featured excursions include Taos Pueblo, the D.H. Lawrence Ranch, the Harwood Museum of Art, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, and the San Francisco de Assis Mission Church.
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