For URI’s Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, 2016 is a very big year. It’s the 10th anniversary of the University’s signature writing event, which will be held June 23-25 on the Kingston campus—and the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize. The timing of these two literary celebrations couldn’t be more perfect.
Over the last decade, the University’s annual summer writing conference has grown into a nationally recognized event, attracting students, teachers, novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and memoirists. It has also welcomed a number of Pulitzer Prize-winning authors talking about their craft, often teaching master classes or seminars, inspiring both novice and accomplished writers.
Our conference is all about helping attendees be better writers,’’ says Tina Egnoski, 2016 conference director. “The atmosphere is intimate and supportive, and that’s important when you’re sharing your work in a group setting.
This year’s event, which is a collaboration with the Pulitzer Foundation in celebration of the award’s centennial, is welcoming Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic and the author of two books, On Michael Jackson and Negroland: A Memoir, for which she received the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. The conference also welcomes American Book Award winner Rigoberto Gonzalez and New York Times Notable Author Julianna Baggott, as featured speakers. The public is welcome to attend the talks of each of these distinguished authors.
The three-day conference will offer attendees more than 20 writing workshops, craft talks, master classes, and publishing sessions. Since its founding in 2006, the conference has held to its mission of building and nurturing a community of writers. Many attendees become regulars, returning year after year to see familiar faces, re-connect, and meet other writers with whom they share so much.
“Our conference is all about helping attendees be better writers,’’ says Tina Egnoski, 2016 conference director. “The atmosphere is intimate and supportive, and that’s important when you’re sharing your work in a group setting.”
New to the conference this year are advanced intensive workshops in novel writing, short fiction writing, and poetry. These workshops will give participants more contact with faculty and are intended for experienced writers who want in-depth feedback on their work. “This is an exciting addition to the conference,” says Egnoski. “Many of our participants are ready to take their work to the next level.”
Another highlight of the conference is a legacy tribute on June 23 to honor the roots of creative writing at URI. “These extraordinary teachers and writers influenced so many students at URI and beyond,” says Professor Mary Cappello. “We felt now was a good time to highlight the history that we and the larger community continue to benefit from and to pass on.”
The University’s annual writing conference has a lot to celebrate as it marks its 10th anniversary. “The prestige and visibility of the conference have grown in the last 10 years,’’ says poet Peter Covino, founding conference director and URI associate English professor. “We want to tap into the rich and diverse community of writers that exist in our state. We hope to continue the creative conversation we began in 2006.’’
For the schedule, presenter bios, and registration information, visit the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference. There is a $25 discount for those who register for the three-day workshops and main conference by May 15. Discounts are available for students, alumni, and URI faculty.