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Writers Conference

Grand Forks, ND

Writers Conference 101

This spring, the UND Writers Conference celebrates its 45th anniversary.   In 1970, the late John Little, a professor in UND’s English Department, was missing some of his literary friends from the South.  He decided to invite them to share their words here in North Dakota, and thus a rich artistic tradition began.  Since that first conference, some of the most laudable names in literature have visited the UND campus, including Allen Ginsberg, Truman Capote,  Edward Albee,  Louise Erdrich, Thomas McGrath, Sherman Alexie, Sir Salman Rushdie, Alice Walker, as well as a number of this year's participants.  A full listing is available at

More than 2000 lovers of literature from all over North Dakota, as well as beyond our borders descend on the campus to listen to panel discussions, readings, and ask their questions of nationally and internationally prominent authors. 

So . . . wouldn’t it be nice if everyone who attended had read the authors’ books?  Go on, admit it:  you went to the talks, loved the authors, bought their books – even had them signed – and then you just never got around to reading them.  They sit on your bookshelf taunting you, daring you to buy one more book before you read them first.

Writers Conference 101 is designed to assuage the guilt over unread books.  It’s also designed to get you acquainted with some of the authors whom you might not know.  Even the most voracious reader may not be familiar with the work of some of these award winning writers.  In fact, conference planners frequently receive praise for introducing readers to writing that challenges and inspires.  But, again, wouldn’t it be nice to be acquainted with the work before the author arrives?

Each session will begin with a brief overview of the author, followed by questions and discussion of the book title. Even if you haven’t had a chance to read the book selection yet, organizers encourage everyone to stop by for the discussion. 

Come discuss the writers who will be attending the 45th Annual UND Writers Conference, April 2-4, 2014. All discussions are on Sundays, 2-3:30 pm. There’s no cost and no need to do homework. In fact, everyone who attends gets an “A+” whether they’re familiar with the author’s work or not.

All Writers Conference 101 Sessions begin at 2 p.m.

At the UND Bookstore:

Feb. 2: Robert Pinsky--Selected poetry (Heidi Czerwiec, Associate Professor of English)

Feb. 9: Sarah Leavitt--Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me (Linda Baeza Porter, graduate student, UND Department of English)

Feb. 16: Geoff Dyer--Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi (Cameron Kelsall, graduate student, UND Department of English)

Feb. 23: Brian Maxwell--Selected short stories (Liz Harris, Associate Professor of English)

At Ferguson Books and Media:

Mar. 2: Jessica Lott--The Rest of Us (Meghan Hurley, graduate student, UND Department of English)

Mar. 16: Colson Whitehead--Apex Hides the Hurt (Eric Wolfe, Associate Professor of English)

Books for the 2014 Writers Conference will be on sale at the UND Bookstore and Ferguson Books and Media.


Crystal Alberts
Co-director, UND Writers Conference

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