MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Middlebury College's Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the oldest writers' conference in the country, will meet from Aug. 13-24. Held every summer since 1926 on the College's Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, the conference remains one of America's most respected literary institutions. Two weeks of workshops, lectures, classes and readings present writers with rigorous practical and theoretical approaches to their craft, and offer a model of literary instruction. A dynamic setting, the mountain campus has attracted many renowned literary figures such as Robert Frost, Carson McCullers, John Irving, Terry Tempest Williams and Ted Conover.
"Bread Loaf is not a retreat-not a place to work in solitude. Instead, it provides a voluble congress of diverse voices in which we test our own assumptions regarding literature and seek advice about our progress as writers," said Michael Collier, author of four books of poems and director of the conference.
This year, 250 writers, students, faculty, literary agents and editors from all over the world will gather at the 78th session of the conference. The general public, too, is invited to attend a daily schedule of readings and lectures where faculty and guests gather in Bread Loaf's Little Theatre to talk about writing or to read from their works. Some highlights of the 2003 session include a reading by fiction-writer and special guest Paula Fox on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 4:15 p.m. Fox, a Newberry Award-winner, has worked as a teacher of troubled children, as well as a journalist, model, rivet-sorter and lathe operator for Bethlehem Steel during World War II. She has written six novels, including "Desperate Characters," "The Widow's Children" and "Poor George." National Book Award-winner and MacArthur Fellow Andrea Barrett will give a reading on Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 8:15 p.m. She is the author of two collections of short fiction and five novels, most recently "The Voyage of the Narwhal." Barrett, who teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program, has received Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and has been a fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
Other notables at the 2003 conference include former Vermont State poet Louise Glück, who will read her work on Friday, Aug. 22 at 4:15 p.m. She has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the Bobbitt National Poetry Prize, the Ambassador's Award and the Bollington Prize for poetry. Edward Hirsch will give a reading on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 8:15 p.m. Hirsch has published six books of poems and three books of prose, including "Wild Gratitude," which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the national best seller "How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry." President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and a MacArthur fellow, Hirsch writes a weekly column for the Washington Post Book World.
An additional conference treat will be a performance by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra's Fiddlesticks String Trio on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 8:15 p.m., also in the Little Theatre. All events are subject to change, so it is recommended that those interested contact the Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at 802-443-2700 to confirm days and times. For more information about the conference, check online at www.middlebury.edu/blwc.
To follow is a list of free events open to the public:
Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers' Conference 2003
All events will take place in the Little Theatre on the Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Route 125 East. Events are subject to change. Please call to confirm days and times: 802-443-5286 until August 8; 802-443-2700 after August 8.
Wednesday, Aug. 13
8:15 p.m. Reading: Michael Collier, Patricia Hampl and Tom Franklin
Thursday, Aug. 14
9 a.m. Lecture: Ellen Bryant Voigt
"The Transparent Prose Style of William Maxwell"
4:15 p.m. Reading: Paula Fox
8:15 p.m. Reading: Margot Livesey and C. Dale Young
Friday, Aug. 15
9 a.m. Lecture: Thomas Mallon
"America's Greatest Living Author, 1922"
4:15 p.m. Reading: Sara Pritchard, Jennifer Grotz and Michael Perry
8:15 p.m. Reading: Dean Young and Helon Habila
Saturday, Aug. 16
9 a.m. Lecture: Edward Hirsch
"The Work of Lyric: Night and Day"
4:15 p.m. Reading: Linda Bierds and Tayari Jones
8:15 p.m. Reading: Maxine Clair and Sally Keith
Sunday, Aug. 17
9 a.m. Lecture: Lynn Freed
"Autobiography and Fiction"
4:15 p.m. Reading: Randall Kenan and Sarah Stone
8:15 p.m. Reading: Charles Baxter and Tom Bissell
Monday, Aug. 18
4:15 p.m. Reading: Sigrid Nunez and David Bain
8:15 p.m. Reading: Cornelia Nixon and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Tuesday, Aug. 19
9 p.m. Lecture: Dean Young
4:15 p.m. Reading: Ellen Bryant Voigt and Vendela Vida
8:15 p.m. Reading: Andrea Barrett and Dana Levin
Wednesday, Aug. 20
9 a.m. Lecture: Charles Baxter
"Great Faces in Fiction"
4:15 p.m. Reading: Lynn Freed and James Hoch
8:15 p.m. Reading: Linda Gregerson and Peter Turchi
Thursday, Aug. 21
9 a.m. Lecture: Linda Gregerson
"Off the Page: The Lyric and Cultural Embeddedness"
2:30 p.m. . Lecture: James Longenbach
"The Resistance to Poetry"
4:15 p.m. Reading: Steve Orlen, Christopher Castellani and Lisa Michaels
8:15 p.m. Concert: Fiddlesticks String Trio
Featuring members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra
Friday, Aug. 22
9 a.m. Lecture: Patricia Hampl
"Cut the Descriptive Part, Please"
2:30 p.m. Lecture: Sigrid Nunez
"On Rereading Mrs. Dalloway"
4:15 p.m. Reading: Louise Glück and James Longenbach
8:15 p.m. Reading: Thomas Mallon and Beth Ann Fennelly
Saturday, Aug. 23
9 a.m. Lecture: Michael Collier
4:15 p.m. Reading: Ann Cummins, Suji Kwock Kim and Naeem Murr8:15 p.m. Reading: Edward Hirsch and Monique Truong