Everything You Need to Know About the Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference

Meet Stuart Dybek, Rebecca Makkai, Kathleen Rooney, and more on August 9-11, 2018.

Within close walking distance of iconic city landmarks such as Navy Pier, John Hancock Center, and Millennium Park, Northwestern University’s Chicago campus might seem an unusual location for a writers’ conference. Whereas many similar weekend retreats seek to provide artists with quiet spaces to work among the wilderness, the Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference brings a community of writers together smack-dab in the city’s bustling downtown for three days of keynotes, panels, workshops, networking events, and literary readings on August 9-11, 2018.

For those who attend, this atmosphere embodies the hustle of the city’s wealth of renowned writers, many of whom are among the conference faculty. Indeed, this year’s Summer Writers’ Conference offers workshops from the likes of Rebecca Makkai, Amin Ahmad, Christine Sneed, Kathleen Rooney, Roger Reeves, Vu Tran, Juan Martinez, and many more.

Reeves, a distinguished poet and academic who has garnered accolades such as NEA and Ruth Lilly fellowships, will also provide the conference’s keynote address, titled “The Uses of Memory.”

Midday panels include discussions on the Chicago-centric subject of the working writer (featuring our own editor-in-chief, Adam Morgan), as well as on the topics of how to inform writing with research and tips for applying for awards, contests, fellowships, and residencies. Afternoon panels allow attendees to ask questions directly to publishers, agents, and literary editors.

While all three days are packed with opportunities to learn and work, attendees can loosen up at evening cocktail parties and readings from Northwestern’s MA/MFA program, the University’s literary journal, TriQuarterly Magazine, and the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

Volumes Bookcafe is the official conference bookseller and Allium Press, Chicago Review of Books, and Tortoise Books will all be on site at various times throughout the conference.

Additionally, attendees can pay to schedule individual manuscript consultations with conference faculty. Registration is currently open for individual days or the entire conference with early bird prices available until July 8, 2018.

Aram Mrjoian is a writer, editor, instructor, and PhD candidate at Florida State University. He is an editor-at-large at the Chicago Review of Books, the Southern Review of Books, and the Southeast Review, as well as the managing editor at TriQuarterly. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Millions, The Rumpus, Boulevard, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast online, Longreads, Joyland, and many other publications. He earned his MFA in creative writing at Northwestern University. Find his work at arammrjoian.com

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