URI to host Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, June 21-23

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Award-winning authors Amy Bloom, Nick Flynn, and Kevin Young to headline

KINGSTON, R.I. –April 24, 2012—Want to be inspired? Spend three days near the ocean at the University of Rhode Island’s Ocean State Summer Writing Conference June 21 through June 23. 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.

This year, award-winning author Amy Bloom, prize winning poet Kevin Young, and writer, playwright, and poet Nick Flynn will deliver keynote speeches. Being Flynn, a movie starring Robert DeNiro, Julianne Moore, and Paul Dano based on Flynn’s memoir, premiered this spring. While the conference is not free, the keynote presentations are free and open to the public. For a schedule of events and registration information, visit www.uri.edu/summerwriting/2012/. There is an early bird $30 combination discount for those who register for both the three-day workshops and the main conference by May 15.

The conference features intensive three-day fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry workshops led by professional writers and poets. The intimate workshops provide participants time to write, reflect, and receive feedback.

Master classes, craft sessions, publishing suggestions, and readings are also part of the mix. Conference faculty include authors and poets such as Patrick Madden, Amity Gaige, Crystal Wilkinson, Richard Hoffmann, Tina Chang, and Padma Venkatraman. URI faculty authors Talvikki Ansel, Mary Cappello, Robert Leuci, and Jody Lisberger will provide their expertise.

“The University of Rhode Island is the perfect setting to enjoy a weekend of writing and lively interaction with professional writers,” said award-winning poet Peter Covino, assistant professor of English and the founder and director of the conference. “There is already so much writing talent here in Southern New England. 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.”

Here’s some unsolicited praise from past attendees since the conference was founded in 2007:

• I was blown out of the water by the speakers and the energy in “Little Rest” (the former name of Kingston). Breadloaf, your days are numbered. Thanks to everyone who conjures up this Kingston miracle every year.

• “I’m a well-published writer with a master’s in creative writing and a published book. So did I really need another writing conference, or to sit in another workshop? Would I learn anything new? Absolutely! David Masello — a New York glossy magazine editor, essayist and poet — was just the kind of teacher I needed, working right at the center of the markets where I want to publish. I also did a one-on-one mentorship with him that was tremendously helpful. He not only offered me a valuable critique, but suggested sending my essay to publications I wouldn’t have thought of.”

• “The weekend conference was the best yet…one of my friends from Brown sent me a message today thanking me for pushing her to attend. Seems it jump-started her writing again. And her email to me was the longest and most intense I have every received. Wow! “

• Some exciting news — I just got my first request for a full manuscript of my novel. I owe you a big thank-you for the dialogue class, which was of direct use to me in my revision…I applied the principles from your class — misdirection, silence, and repetition — and also realized there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue I could summarize in narrative.


Amy Bloom is the author of the bestselling and acclaimed Away; Come to Me, a National Book Award finalist; A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Love Invents Us; and Normal. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, and many other anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award.

Nick Flynn, the author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (Norton, 2004), won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. The book has been translated into 10 languages and has been made into the film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DiNero, Paul Dano, and Julianne Moore, which premiered this spring. Flynn is also the author of two books of poetry. His poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review.

Kevin Young is the author of seven collections of poetry, including his most recent Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebellion (Knopf, 2011) and editor of five others. His Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Award and The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. His book, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and is due out this spring.