URI offers Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, June 18-20

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KINGSTON, R.I.—May 7, 2009 –Follow your fiction, nonfiction, or poetry muse to the University of Rhode Island this June where the annual Ocean State Summer Writing Conference will be held June 18 to 20. Sponsored by the English Department, the conference is now in its third year. For a full schedule of events and online registration go to uri.edu/summerwriting/. For more information, contact the URI English Department at 401.874.5931 or go to FaceBook http://tinyurl.com/o9yf65.

“This is a great opportunity for writers of all ages and talents to enjoy a weekend of lively interaction with professional writers on the picturesque Kingston campus,” says prize-winning poet Peter Covino, assistant professor of English who directs the conference. “This year we’re offering an even wider range of activities from discussions to workshops and seminars, and more publishing professionals. There will be new chances to network and opportunities to have a one-on-one consultation with a faculty member.”

Intensive writing workshops, offered for a separate fee, will run Thursday afternoon, June 18 and Friday morning, June 19. These workshops provide beginning and advanced writers and poets the opportunity to hone their skills in small, intimate settings. In-class writing exercises, reading, and generous feedback from a professional in the field are part of the mix.

The main conference runs Friday afternoon June 19 to Saturday evening June 20. Keynote speakers are fiction and nonfiction writers Louise DeSalvo, Robin Hemley, and poet Patricia Smith.

• Louise DeSalvo is the author of 17 books, among them Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work, which was named one of the most important books of the 20th century by The Women’s Review of Books.

DeSalvo has also published the memoirs including Vertigo, Breathless, and Crazy in the Kitchen, which was named a Booksense Book of the Year for 2004. Her book about the writing process, Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives, is a widely used resource for writers recovering from trauma, illness, or terrorist acts. Her most recent memoir, On Moving: A Writer’s Meditation on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again, received rave reviews in The New York Times. She is the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for Creative Writing and Literature at Hunter College, where she has taught since 1981.

• Robin Hemley teaches in the nonfiction-writing program at the University of Iowa. He is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently DO-OVER! in which a 48-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassments.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler writes: “Robin Hemley is on my very short list of writers I not only wish to read, not only need to read, but downright can’t wait to read. Do-Over! is quintessential Hemley, full of wit and invention and brilliant language and warm humanity…”

Hemley’s awards and fellowships include a 2008 Fellowship from The Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, The Nelson Algren Award from The Chicago Tribune, and the Independent Press Book Award for Nonfiction.

• Patricia Smith is the author of five books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and one of NPR’s top five books of 2008; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection, winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and About.com’s Best Poetry Book of 2006.

She also authored the groundbreaking history Africans in America and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly and many other journals, and has been performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Poets Stage in Stockholm, and Rotterdam’s Poetry International.

She is a Pushcart Prize winner, a Cave Canem faculty member and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She is on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

There are 21 other authors, editors, poets including a number of URI faculty members who will discuss writing, lead craft workshops and seminars. URI 1981 alumnus Patrick Tracey, author of the prize-winning Stalking Irish Madness: Searching for the Roots of My Family’s Schizophrenia, will help lead a panel discussion about writing on family.

Register early for your favorite conference choices.