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Conference Overview

Our fifth Ocean State Summer Writing Conference continues the tradition of offering writers of all ages and talents the opportunity to enjoy a weekend of lively interaction with professional writers on the University's picturesque Kingston Campus.

If this is your first conference with us, welcome. You'll find a wide range of activities -- workshops, seminars, and much more -- that are sure to fire up your imagination. If you have attended our conference before, welcome back. We offer plenty of new, stimulating opportunities to keep you intrigued and writing.

Below you will find descriptions of our events offerings available this year. For complete details, visit our Conference Schedule page.


Attendees enrolling in Part I choose a workshop (fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry) that takes place Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, and Saturday morning. Workshops are led by our highly accomplished conference faculty members. Spend several hours in a small, intimate setting practicing writing and learning from one another. Workshops are a great place to get feedback from fellow students as well as a faculty member in a comfortable and supportive environment.

For information about each workshop, visit our Event Descriptions page. Space is limited so be sure to sign up early!

Keynote Talks

Our 2011 keynote speakers are Jennifer Egan, Robert Stone, and Tomaz Salamun, and their talks are free and open to the public. See the following schedule:

  • Friday, June 24, 12:30-2 p.m. Jennifer Egan, Swan Hall Auditorium
  • Friday, June 24, 4:15-5:15 p.m., Robert Stone, Swan Hall Auditorium
  • Saturday, June 25, 12:30-1:45 p.m., Tomaz Salamun, Swan Hall Auditorium

Master Classes

This year we are happy to announce four different 90-minute master classes that will allow you to study with one of our featured presenters. These classes have limited enrollment to ensure that you have a chance to engage with the instructor and fellow classmates. See more information about our Master Classes.

  • Richard Hoffman, Creative Nonfiction
  • Tomaz Salamun, Poetry
  • Karen Lee Boren, Fiction
  • Crystal Wilkinson, Fiction

Craft Sessions

Our 45-minute craft sessions are designed around a particular aspect of, or approach to, writing and are often genre-specific. Participants will read and discuss examples of writing, then get a chance to complete a short in-class writing assignment. Craft sessions are a chance for you to consider a particular aspect of writing, respond to a prompt on-site, and see how other attendees respond to your work. See more information about our Craft Sessions.

“Writing Life” and Publishing Sessions

“The real writer is one who really writes,” wrote Marge Piercy. Writers make writing a priority in their lives. And to feed their writing selves, they also read and attend readings, enroll in classes, join groups, enter contests, apply for grants/fellowships, explore markets, and learn new technologies to enhance their success once they’re ready to publish. Throughout the final day of the conference, we offer sessions of practical advice for flourishing as a writer upon your return to daily life. See more information about our "Writing Life" and Publishing Sessions.

One-on-One Consultations

Consultations are a wonderful way for you to learn from some of our most accomplished conference faculty in a personalized, unique way. Prior to the start of the conference you can choose to submit a short manuscript (no more than 10 pages or 5 poems) and sign up for a 20 minute consultation.

During the consultation, the faculty member will discuss your manuscript, offer suggestions for improvement, develop a strategy for getting the most out of your writing, and brainstorm ways to get you to the next level. You can also come to the consultation with specific questions about roadblocks or trouble spots. There is an additional cost for each consultation session. Limited space available.

Deadline to register for a consultation is June 16, 2011. Upon registering for a consultation you will be assigned a time and mentor.


Community is one of the best things the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference can offer a writer. We not only want to help develop your talent, we also want to give you the chance to meet other writers and form supportive relationships that you can build on after the conference is over. We have scheduled specific times for our participants to meet and greet one another in between classes and readings. So whether you have come to Ocean State Summer Writing Conference alone or with a group of friends, you can reap the rewards of being part of a large group of motivated writers and learners. Being a writer is tough -- but you should not have to go it alone

Cocktail Reception & Dinner

Our Friday night cocktail reception and dinner offers you the opportunity to talk with our presenters and other attendees in a relaxed and informal environment. Dinner is followed by readings from conference faculty. Here's your chance to ask that question you have always wanted to ask your favorite writer and get to know other writers in your community!


In addition to the talks and readings by our keynote speakers, there are readings scheduled throughout the conference by accomplished local writers, conference faculty members, and not-to-be-missed readings after the Friday night reception dinner. Conference Part I (Workshop) participants have the chance to read their own work to an audience of their peers on Saturday afternoon.

Book Signings

On Friday and Saturday afternoon, conference faculty will be available to sign their books at the Author Table -- but you can buy books anytime!