MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the oldest writers' conference in the country, will meet Wednesday, Aug. 15 - Sunday, Aug. 26. 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 provide 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, Ted Conover and Julia Alvarez.
Two Pulitzer Prize winners will attend the conference this year and give public readings. Edward P. Jones received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and Natasha Trethewey received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
"Bread Loaf is not a retreat - not a place to work in solitude," said Michael Collier, the director of the conference. "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."
This year, 270 writers, students, faculty, literary agents and editors will gather at the 82nd session of the conference. The general public is invited to attend a daily schedule of readings and lectures that take place in the Little Theatre, located on the Bread Loaf campus on Route 125.
The 2007 session of public events will open on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 8:15 p.m., with a welcome by Collier, who will also give a reading on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 8:15 p.m. Collier is the author of five books of poems, including "The Ledge," which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2000. A professor in the University of Maryland Creative Writing Program, Collier has received numerous fellowships and awards.
Collier's welcome will be followed by readings by Bread Loaf faculty members Eavan Boland and Joanna Scott.
Boland is the author of numerous volumes of poetry as well as one volume of prose. Her most recent book of poetry, "Domestic Violence," was published this year. Boland is the Mabury Knapp Professor in Humanities at Stanford University and Lane Professor for the Director of the Creative Writing Program. On Saturday, Aug. 18, at 9 a.m., Boland will give a lecture titled "The Political Poem in a Time of Change: Some Contemporary Irish Poems."
Other highlights include a reading by Edward P. Jones on Thursday, Aug. 23, at 4:15 p.m. Jones' most recent collection of short stories, "All Aunt Hagar's Children," was published in September 2006. Other titles include "Lost in the City," which won the PEN/Hemingway Award as well as the Lannan Foundation Award, and was short-listed for the National Book Award. His first novel, "The Known World," received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Lannan Literary Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Jones was named a MacArthur Fellow for 2004.
Natasha Trethewey, a member of the Bread Loaf faculty this year, will give a reading on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 4:15 p.m. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including "The Best American Poetry" in 2000 and 2003. The recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, Trethewey was also the Alan Collins Fellow in poetry at the 2001 Writers' Conference. Her book "Native Guard" won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Special guest Susan Orlean will give a reading on Thursday, Aug. 16, at 4:30 p.m. Orlean is the author of numerous books, including "The Orchid Thief," which has been made into the movie "Adaptation," written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. Orlean has written for a variety of publications, including Esquire, Rolling Stone, Spy, the New York Times, Vogue, Outside, and the New Yorker, where she has been a staff writer since 1992.
Following Orlean's reading, Annick Smith will read a selection from her work. Smith is the author of "Homestead" and "Big Bluestem: Journey into the Tallgrass." Her writings have appeared in Story, Audubon, Travel & Leisure, Orion, Modern Maturity, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Outside, and have been anthologized in "Best American Short Stories," "Best of the West" and "Best of Outside." Smith's film credits include producing the feature film "Heartland" and co-producing "A River Runs Through It."
Public Events Listing for the 2007 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Aug. 15-25
All events will take place on the Bread Loaf campus in the Little Theatre, located on Route 125.
*Please note the later start time for the afternoon reading on Aug. 16; all other afternoon readings begin at 4:15 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 15
8:15 p.m. Welcome by Michael Collier and readings by Eavan Boland and Joanna Scott
Thursday, Aug. 16
9 a.m. Lecture by Scott Russell Sanders, "Honoring the Ordinary"
4:30 p.m.* Readings by Susan Orlean and Annick Smith
8:15 p.m. Readings by James Longenbach and David Shields
Friday, Aug. 17
9 a.m. Lecture by Joanna Scott, "Dreaming Amidst the Ruins"
4:15 p.m. Readings by Ilya Kaminsky, Alix Ohlin, and Danielle Trussoni
8:15 p.m. Readings by Matt Hart and Stacey D'Erasmo
Saturday, Aug. 18
9 a.m. Lecture by Eavan Boland, "The Political Poem in a Time of Change: Some Contemporary Irish Poems"
4:15 p.m. Readings by Peter Chilson, Matt Donovan, and Stanley Alfred Gazemba
8:15 p.m. Readings by Bret Anthony Johnston, Rishi Reddi, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Sunday, Aug. 19
9 a.m. Lecture by Robert Cohen, "Emblem, Essence: Naming and its Discontents"
4:15 p.m. Readings by Nan Cohen, Debra Marquart, and Helen Schulman
8:15 p.m. Readings by Steve Orlen and Danzy Senna
Monday, Aug. 20
4:15 p.m. Readings by Pia Z. Ehrhardt, Thai Jones, and Ed Pavlic
8:15 p.m. Readings by Sherwin Bitsui and William Kittredge
Tuesday, Aug. 21
9 a.m. Lecture by James Longenbach, "Poem, Prose, Prose-poem: Three Definitions"
4:15 p.m. Readings by Linda Busby Parker, Benjamin Percy, and Natasha Trethewey
8:15 p.m. Readings by Jennifer Grotz and Lan Samantha Chang
Wednesday, Aug. 22
9 a.m. Lecture by David Shields, "Reality Hunger: A Manifesto"
4:15 p.m. Readings by Camille Dungy, Emily Mitchell, and Sigrid Nunez
8:15 p.m. Readings by Percival Everett and Arthur Sze
Thursday, Aug. 23
9 a.m. Lecture by Arthur Sze, "The Wang River Sequence"
4:15 p.m. Reading by Edward P. Jones
8:15 p.m. Musical programs with François Clemmons and George Matthew;
and Roland and Gary Clark
Friday, Aug. 24
9 a.m. Lecture by Stacey D'Erasmo, "The Unsayable"
4:15 pm. Readings by Major Jackson and C.E. Poverman
8:15 p.m. Readings by Kevin McIlvoy and Scott Russell Sanders
Saturday, Aug. 25
9 a.m. Lecture by William Kittredge, "Where Should We Be:
Can Artists be Anything but Regionalists?"
4:15 p.m. Readings by Sally Ball, Ravi Howard, and Douglas Trevor
8:15 p.m. Readings by Robert Cohen and Michael Collier
Members of the public should contact the Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers' Conference to confirm days and times. Prior to the first week of the conference, call 802-443-5286; after Aug. 13, call 802-443-2700. For more information, see the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Web page.