Authors, poets gather for 90th Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
RIPTON — The Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the oldest writers’ conference in the country, will hold its 90th session when it begins Wednesday, Aug. 12, and continues through Saturday, Aug. 22.
Held every summer since 1926 on Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, the conference remains one of America’s most respected literary institutions. Ten days of workshops, lectures, classes and readings provide writers with rigorous practical and theoretical approaches to their craft. The mountain campus has attracted many renowned authors and poets such as Robert Frost, Carson McCullers, John Irving, Terry Tempest Williams, Ted Conover and Julia Alvarez.
This summer the conference faculty will include such literary figures as poet Terrance Hayes. Hayes is the author of five collections of poetry, including his newest book, “How To Be Drawn.” His previous book, “Lighthead,” was winner of the 2010 National Book Award. A 2014 MacArthur Fellow, Hayes is a professor of creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh.
Faculty member and fiction writer Lan Samantha Chang is the author of a story collection, “Hunger,” and two novels, “All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost” and “Inheritance,” which earned the 2005 PEN/Open Book Prize for the Novel. She is the recipient of fellowships from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Chang is a professor of creative writing at the University of Iowa and director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
A number of distinguished writers also will attend the conference as fellows, including David J. Morris and Kristin Valdez Quade. Fellowships are awarded to applicants who have published their first or second book in English within the last four years in the genre in which they are applying — poetry, fiction or nonfiction.
Morris, the Bernard De Voto Fellow in Nonfiction, is a former Marine infantry officer. He also worked as a reporter in Iraq from 2004-2007. Morris is the author of two books, including “The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” published in 2015. Quade, the Alan Collins Fellow in Fiction, is the author of “Night at the Fiestas,” which received a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation.
“The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is a stimulating community of diverse voices in which writers test their own assumptions regarding literature and seek advice about their progress,” said Michael Collier, director of the conference. “No one who has experienced Bread Loaf, with its beautiful wilderness setting and intensive programming, has failed to be inspired, encouraged, or changed by it.”
This year, more than 300 writers, students, faculty, literary agents and editors will gather to participate in the 90th session of the conference. The general public is invited to attend a daily schedule of free readings and lectures that take place in the Little Theatre, located on the Bread Loaf campus on Route 125.
The 2015 series of public events will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 8:15 p.m., with a welcome by Collier and Laurie Patton, who began serving in her new role as president of Middlebury on July 1. Collier is the author of six books of poems, including “The Ledge,” a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and, most recently, “An Individual History.” After Collier’s opening remarks, Bread Loaf faculty members Randall Kenan and Ellen Bryant Voigt will give readings. The public events will wrap up with readings by Collier and Vikram Chandra on Friday, Aug. 21, at 8:15 p.m.
For a complete schedule of lectures and readings, see the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference web page: www.middlebury.edu/bread-loaf-conferences/program/public-events. Events are subject to change. Call to confirm dates and times at 802-443-2700.
The Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences include the Bread Loaf Orion Writers’ Conference, designed for those who want to bring more depth of knowledge to their writing about the environment, and the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference, which highlights the important role that literary translators of poetry and prose play in the United States and beyond.