Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference to Offer Free Readings and Lectures Daily
RIPTON, Vt. — The Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the oldest writers’ conference in the country, will hold its 94th session when it begins Wednesday, August 14, and ends Saturday, August 24. 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 take place daily and are free and open to the public.
Writer Reyna Grande is among the literary figures who will serve on the conference faculty. Grande is the author of the bestselling memoir The Distance Between Us, where she writes about her life before and after coming from Mexico to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home, was released in October 2018. Her other works include the novels Across a Hundred Mountains and Dancing with Butterflies, which were published to critical acclaim.
Other faculty include poet Jericho Brown and writer Alexander Chee. Brown’s books include Please, which won the American Book Award, and The New Testament, which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His most recent book, The Tradition, was published this spring. Chee is the bestselling author of the novels The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh and, most recently, the essay collection How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. His stories and essays have appeared in Best American Essays 2016, T Magazine, the New Yorker, the Yale Review, and the Sewanee Review, among others.
“What makes Bread Loaf exciting is its ability to serve as a source of encouragement to writers in their more formative years,” said Jennifer Grotz, director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, including the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in August and also the Environmental Writers’ Conference, the Translators’ Conference, and the Bread Loaf in Sicily Conference. “The talent of the experienced writers on our faculty, the stunning setting, and the conference’s history combine to inspire budding poets and authors as they find their voices and work on their craft of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction.”
This year, more than 285 writers, students, faculty, literary agents, and editors will gather to participate in the 94th 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 Theater, located on the Bread Loaf campus on Route 125.
The 2019 series of public events will begin on Wednesday, August 14, at 8:15 p.m., with a welcome by Middlebury President Laurie L. Patton and Grotz, who is the author of three books of poems, Window Left Open, The Needle, and Cusp. Her translations include the novel Rochester Knockings, the poetry collection The Psalms of All My Days, and, recently cotranslated with poet and translator Piotr Sommer, Everything I Don’t Know, the selected poems of Jerzy Ficowski.After Grotz’s opening remarks, novelist and nonfiction writer Stacey D’Erasmo—also a Bread Loaf faculty member—will read from her work. Later in the conference, on Saturday, August 17, at 8:15 p.m., Grotz will offer a reading with novelist and short fiction writer Michael Parker.
A highlight this session will be readings by special guests Yusef Komunyakaa and Kevin Young on Wednesday, August 21, at 1:30 p.m. Komunyakaa’s many books include Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, 1977–1989, which won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Thieves of Paradise, a finalist for the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award. His plays and performance works have been staged nationally. Komunyakaa is professor and senior poet in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University.Young is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, newly named a National Historic Landmark, and poetry editor of the New Yorker. He is the author of 13 books of poetry and prose, most recently Brown (2018); Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995–2015 (2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; and Book of Hours (2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets.
The public events will wrap up with readings by poet Jericho Brown and novelist Christopher Castellani on Friday, August 23, 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 13; 802-443-2700 after August 14.
The Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences include the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, designed for those who want to bring more depth of knowledge to their writing about the environment; the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference, which highlights the important role that literary translators of poetry and prose play in the United States and beyond; and the Bread Loaf in Sicily Conference, which offers small, intensive workshops and inspired community for those who enjoy travel and those living abroad.