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Author Luis Alberto Urrea is on the faculty of the 2014 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

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Ray, Sarah C.
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Authors, novelists, and poets to gather at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Aug. 13-23

July 23, 2014

RIPTON, Vt. — The Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the oldest writers’ conference in the country, will begin Wednesday, Aug. 13, and continue through Saturday, Aug. 23. 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. Ten days 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 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 Andrea Barrett and Luis Alberto Urrea. Barrett is the author of six novels, most recently The Air We Breathe, and three collections of short fiction, including Ship Fever, which received the National Book Award, and Archangel, which was published in 2013. Urrea is the author of 14 books and has received numerous awards, including the Edgar Award and the American Book Award. This year his novel Into the Beautiful North was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Big Read selection. More than 50 cities and colleges have used one of Urrea’s books as a “community read.”

A number of distinguished writers also will attend the conference as fellows, including Leigh Newman and Natalie Diaz. 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 non-fiction. Newman, author of Still Points North, published in 2013, is the first recipient of the new Axinn Foundation Fellowship in Narrative Nonfiction, which was established this year. Diaz, the Katharine Bakeless Nason fellow in poetry, was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published in 2012.

Author Andrea Barrett is a member of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference faculty this year.

“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 89th 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 2014 session of public events will open on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 8:15 p.m., with a welcome by Collier. He is the author of six books of poems, including The Ledge, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2000, and, most recently, An Individual History. After Collier’s opening remarks, Bread Loaf faculty members Natasha Tretheway and Luis Alberto Urrea will give readings. The public events will wrap up with readings by Collier and Ursula Hegi on Friday, Aug. 22, at 8:15 p.m.

For a complete schedule of lectures and readings, see the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Web page. Events are subject to change. Call to confirm dates and times at 802-443-5286, through Aug. 11; 802-443-2700, after Aug. 11.