The Middlebury Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference and Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference will each offer free lectures and readings to the public when they are in session June 2-7. Both conferences are modeled on the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the oldest writers’ conference in the country.
The Translators’ Conference, now in its ninth year, is the first such forum to highlight the important role that literary translators of poetry and prose play in the United States and beyond. The 10th annual Environmental Writers’ Conference is designed for those who want to bring more depth of knowledge and understanding to their writing about the environment and the natural world. The two gatherings will take place concurrently at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus in Ripton.
The intensive weeklong sessions incorporate the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model of small, focused workshops coupled with readings, discussions, lectures, and specialized classes focusing on the craft of writing at the Environmental Conference, or, in the case of the Translators’ Conference, on the art of literary translation. Each morning there are lectures in the Barn and Little Theater on the Bread Loaf campus given by faculty from the Translators’ and Environmental Conferences respectively. Each evening there are readings offered by both conferences in the Little Theater.
The Translators’ Conference will feature such faculty as Hosam Aboul-Ela and Mónica de la Torre. A professor of English and the AAEF/Burhan and Misako Ajuz Professor of Arab Studies at the University of Houston, Hosam Aboul-Ela is the translator of four Arabic novels and author of numerous articles in the areas of comparative literature, literature of the Americas, and Arab cultural studies. In addition to Other South: Faulkner, Coloniality, and the Mariátegui Tradition, he is author of the Domestications: American Empire, Literary Culture, and the Postcolonial Lens. For Seagull Books, he curates the Arab list and coedits with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak the Elsewhere Texts series. His translation of Sonallah Ibrahim’s Warda was published by Yale in 2021. He will give a lecture titled “Translation and Agency: A Biographical Turn?” on June 4 at 9 a.m. in the Barn and a reading with Jennifer Chang, Carolyn Finney, and Madhu H. Kaza on June 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the Little Theater.
Mónica de la Torre’s most recent book of poems and translations is Repetition Nineteen. Other collections include The Happy End/All Welcome—a riff on a riff on Kafka’s Amerika—and Public Domain. She has translated an array of poets including Amanda Berenguer, Omar Cáceres, Ana Hatherly, Lila Zemborain, and Gerardo Deniz. With Alex Balgiu, she coedited the anthology Women in Concrete Poetry 1959–79. She is the recipient of the 2022 Foundation for Contemporary Arts C.D. Wright Award for Poetry and a 2022 Creative Capital Grant. She teaches poetry at Brooklyn College. She will give a reading with Pam Houston, J. Drew Lanham, and Christopher Merrill on June 3 at 8 p.m. in the Little Theater and a lecture titled ”Outside Looking In / Inside Looking Out: Some Thoughts on Exophonic Writing” on June 7 at 9 a.m. in the Barn.
The Environmental Conference includes faculty members Pam Houston and J. Drew Lanham. Pam Houston is the author of both the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, which won the 2019 Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award, and the Reading the West Advocacy Award, and more recently, Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place, co-authored with Amy Irvine. She is also the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness, Contents May Have Shifted, and four other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and teaches creative writing at the University of California, Davis and at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is cofounder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing by Writers and fiction editor at the environmental arts journal, Terrain.org. She raises Icelandic sheep and Irish wolfhounds and is a fierce advocate for the earth. She will give a reading with Mónica de la Torre, J. Drew Lanham, and Christopher Merrill on June 3 at 8 p.m. in the Little Theater and a lecture titled “Playing Tennis Without A Ball (or a Racquet, or a Net, or a Court, or a Serena Williams Signature Dress, Etc.)” on June 7 at 9 a.m. in the Little Theater.
J. Drew Lanham, a native of Edgefield, South Carolina, is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, which received the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Southern Book Prize, and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal. He is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist who has published essays and poetry in publications including Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher, and Wilderness, and in several anthologies, including The Colors of Nature, State of the Heart, Bartram’s Living Legacy, and Carolina Writers at Home. An alumni distinguished professor of wildlife ecology and master teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in the upstate of South Carolina, a soaring hawk’s downhill glide from the southern Appalachian escarpment that the Cherokee once called the Blue Wall. He will give a reading with Mónica de la Torre, Pam Houston, and Christopher Merrill on June 3 at 8 p.m. in the Little Theater.
The conferences will kick off with a welcome from Director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences Jennifer Grotz and Director of the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference Megan Mayhew Bergman on Friday, June 2, at 8 p.m. in the Little Theater.
The complete schedules of the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference and Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference lectures and readings are available online.
More information about the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences is also available online.