URI announces 2013 Ocean State Summer Writing Conference schedule

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Obama’s inaugural poet, prize-winning novelist, playwright to keynote

KINGSTON, R.I. — April 10, 2013 — Want to be inspired? Spend three days near the ocean at the University of Rhode Island’s Ocean State Summer Writing Conference June 20 through June 22. Held on URI’s picturesque campus in Kingston, the conference gives writers an opportunity to raise their writing to a more professional level under the direction of bestselling authors and poets. For a schedule of events and registration information, visit uri.edu/summerwriting/.

The conference, now in its seventh year, continues to gain critical recognition for its content and offerings. Its committee has often been able to spot talented writers and poets before they become famous. This year’s choice of keynoters emphasizes that remarkable ability:

* Richard Blanco, President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural poet, was a popular conference workshop leader last year.

* Amity Gaige’s just released third novel, Schroder, is garnering critical praise from a number of sources. Gaige, who has taught courses at URI, was a founding workshop leader and has participated in numerous annual conferences.

*Ayad Akhtar is new to the conference this year. His play, Disgraced, was staged at New York’s Lincoln Center Theatre. Next month the play will be presented in London. In addition to penning plays, Ayad is a novelist, screenwriter, and actor.

While the conference is not free, the keynote addresses are free and open to the public.

Intensive three-day workshops will be offered in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and –new this year–in screenwriting. The intimate workshops, led by prominent professionals, provide participants time to write, reflect, and receive feedback.

Participants can also select to attend the conference portion–either in concert with the workshops or separately.

A number of prominent writers and poets fill the conference schedule. This year, the conference is introducing special segments of playwriting and screenwriting for people interested in those genres. Master classes, craft sessions, publishing suggestions, and readings are part of the mix. An opportunity for one-on-one consultation is also available for an additional fee.

“The University of Rhode Island is the perfect setting to enjoy a weekend of writing and lively interaction with professional writers,” said Andrea Yates, a lecturer in URI’s English Department who is acting director of the conference this year while its founding director, prize-winning poet Peter Covino, URI associate professor of English Literature with Creative Writing, is on sabbatical in Italy.

“Participants from out of state can take advantage of inexpensive housing arrangements (new campus residence halls), and conference activities, while meeting new friends who share their passion. The campus is just minutes away from the world- class beaches of Narragansett, South Kingstown, Charlestown, and Newport,” Yates added.