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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI to offer 2008 Ocean State Summer Writing Conference

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Professional writers, poets to give craft talks, panel discussion, feedback

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 13, 2008 -- The University of Rhode Island will offer its second Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, due in large part to the success of its inaugural conference last year. Enrollment is limited. To ensure your widest choice of sessions, register now. For a full schedule of events and online registration go to www.uri.edu/artsci/eng/SummerWriting/08/index.html.

“I think we really tapped into a need of the Rhode Island community and beyond,” says prize-winning Poet Peter Covino, assistant professor of English and conference coordinator, noting that more than 240 writers and poets attended. “Thanks to feedback, this year we’re offering more hands-on activities and events, including a free concert for conference attendees, co-sponsored by URI’s Music Department.

The conference, sponsored by URI’s English Department, will be held Friday, June 20 and Saturday, June 21. Pre-conference writing workshops will run Thursday afternoon, June 19 and Friday morning, June 20.

Featured speaker, URI 1978 alumna Ann Hood, whose memoir Comfort appears next month and who is the author of more than 10 books, will open the conference. Poets Denise Duhamel and Nick Carbó will give a keynote address on “Poetic Inspiration” the next day.

Internationally known poet-composer Nina Cassian will read from her work on Friday. A concert featuring her music will be held that evening. There will be no charge for conference participants.

The conference offers panel discussions featuring three or more professional writers who will take turns giving short presentations. The panelists will open the discussion to participants’ questions, creating a two-way flow of information on writing-related topics.

Craft presenters will lead sessions about a particular aspect of or approach to writing fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, giving participants the opportunity to read, write, and respond. Participants will be able to retreat to a special Workout Room this year to write or receive one-on-one feedback. Readings and book signings are also offered.

An information session about earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, including URI’s projected low residency MFA, is also on tap. Sessions by genre are also scheduled.

Pre-conference sessions, offered for a separate fee, 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 conference fee is $135 for the general public, $100 for students with a valid student ID. There is a $30 additional charge for dinner on Friday night. The pre-conference fee is $125 for the general public, $55 for students with a valid student ID.