Central Wyoming College will wrap up the summer with its first-ever Wind River Outdoor Writers Conference Aug. 24-25 at Sink's Canyon Center. Presenters include blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, who has climbed the summit of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. He will be the keynote speaker for the conference with a free public presentation at Lander Valley High School Auditorium on August 25 at 7 p.m. Other presenters are outdoor writers Michael Lanza and Shelli Johnson and editor Max Phelps.
Wyoming has two big fall literary events. The first has a long title: the Casper College/ARTCORE Equality State Book Festival and Literary Conference. The book festival takes place during even years, such as this one, offering readings, book signings, craft talks, panels, school visits by writers and a poetry slam. In odd years, Casper College and ARTCORE continue a decades-long partnership by putting on the literary conference, a series of workshops and craft talks by notable authors.
Among the Sept. 14-15 bookfest participants are state and regional favorites: Pat Frolander, current Poet Laureate for Wyoming; Zak Pullen, Cat Urbigkit, Kendra Spanjer and Karla Oceanak who will be making school visits; Alyson Hagy and David Romtvedt, faculty from University of Wyoming’s MFA program, who will give readings and lead craft talks; and essayist and poet Linda Hasselstrom. From further regions, we are also joined by Rebecca O’Connor and Renee d’Aoust. The Wyoming Arts Council presents the Creative Writing Fellowship awards, which were judged by soldier-poet Brian Turner, and celebrates poetry this year. The 2013 fellowship recipients, Matt Daly, Claudia Mauro and W. Dale Nelson, will read from their award-winning work with Turner on Friday, Sept. 14, 1-3 p.m., in the Goodstein Foundation Library. Our friends at the Natrona County Library are sponsoring a visit from Iraq War veteran and author Luis Carlos Montalvan. Turner will join Montalvan at a panel about soldier-writers on Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m.
Speaking of soldier-writers.... One of America's best writers, Tim O'Brien, will be a featured presenter at the annual Literary Connection at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne Oct. 5-6. O'Brien is a Vietnam veteran best known for his novel, “The Things They Carried.” He will conduct a free writing workshop on Friday, Oct. 5, entitled “The Things We Carry.” John Calderazzo, a nature writer and essayist from Fort Collins, Colo., and fiction writer Cat Valente, will conduct other free workshops.
Every county library sponsors a series of events throughout the year. Connect with your local library through the Wyoming Library Asssociation.
UW's creative writing program has a full slate of visiting writers, including Maggie Nelson, Mark Nowak, CA Conrad and Brian Leung. The program's fall schedule culminates on Nov. 9 with “Listening to Nature: an Evening of Readings and Visual Art by Scientists and Artists” features great writing and art focused on nature and the environment. Readers will include Chris Madsen, Emilene Ostlind, and Kristen Gunther.
Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs sponsors its “Friday Night Live” literary series sponsored by the Louise Wesswick Foundation. English Professor and writer Rick Kempa does a great job coordinating these events. In February, WWCC hosted Utah author Katharine Coles who will also serve as judge for the 2013 Blanchan/Doubleday writing awards sponsored by the WAC (more info coming soon).
We have two statewide writing groups – WyoPoets and Wyoming Writers, Inc. – and they each sponsor annual conferences. WyoPoets conducts a writing workshop each spring and the WWInc conference launches the summer season the first weekend in June. The 2013 conference will be in Laramie.
The Jackson Hole WritersConference is held in late June and has become one of the foremost conferences in the country.
These are but the highlights of the Wyoming literary year. We’ll keep you posted as new events arise, and as conferences and events solidify their plans for 2013. If you have a literary event to publicize, let us know here at the WAC. We'll spread the word via this blog, Facebook, Twitter and our print newsletter.