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Lesley Arimah, author of the short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, will be a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

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Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Attracts Authors and Poets to 92nd Session

August 4, 2017

RIPTON, Vt. — The Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the oldest writers’ conference in the country, will hold its 92nd session when it begins Wednesday, August 16, and ends Saturday, August 26. 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.

Conference lectures and readings are free and open to the public.

This summer the conference faculty will include such literary figures as Luis Alberto Urrea, the best-selling author of 16 books, including The Devil's Highway and The Hummingbird's Daughter. The winner of numerous literary prizes, including the American Book Award, Urrea is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Lauren Groff, author of the New York Times bestseller Fates and Furies, will be a member of the faculty at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Photo by Megan Brown.

Faculty member Lauren Groff is the author of the novel Fates and Furies, a New York Times bestseller. Other books by Groff are The Monsters of Templeton, Delicate Edible Birds, and Arcadia. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and magazines, including the New Yorker, and the Atlantic, as well as four editions of the Best American Short Stories anthology.

A number of distinguished writers, including fiction writer Lesley Arimah, will also attend the conference as fellows. 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.

Arimah, the Katharine Bakeless Nason Fellow in Fiction, is the author of the short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, and other publications. She is the recipient of a Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize and a MacDowell Fellowship.

“Young writers who are newcomers to Bread Loaf are astounded by its beauty,” said Michael Collier, director of the conference. “Those who are familiar with the conference are happy to return to its natural setting in the Green Mountains. Both groups enjoy a diverse community of writers in an environment that stimulates and supports them as they pursue the craft of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction.”

This session will mark the end of Michael Collier’s role as director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences. In May 2017, Collier announced he was stepping down. He has served as director since 1994. Poet and translator Jennifer Grotz, director of the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference, will serve as the new director.

This year, more than 285 writers, students, faculty, literary agents, and editors will gather to participate in the 92nd 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 2017 series of public events will begin on Wednesday, August 16, at 8:15 p.m., with a welcome by Middlebury President Laurie Patton and Collier, who 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, Groff and poet and writer Edward Hirsch–also a Bread Loaf faculty member–will give readings. The public events will wrap up with a reading by Collier Friday, August 25, 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 August 15; 802-443-2700, after August 16.

The Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences include the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental 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.

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