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   from the issue of June 10, 2004

Planners excited for second writers’ conference

The second Nebraska Summer Writers’ Conference will bring 16 literary experts to UNL this month to work with about 200 writers from more than 25 states.

The conference will be June 19-25 and will feature these writers, poets and editors as faculty: Jane Barnes, Grace Bauer, Denise Brady, Rita Mae Brown, Robert Olen Butler, Elizabeth Dewberry, Pam Houston, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Carl Phillips, Mary Pipher, Hilda Raz, Emma Sweeney, Marcos Villatoro, Jane von Mehren, Sharon Oard Warner and Wendy Weil.

Jonis Agee, a professor in the creative writing program in UNL’s Department of English, will again direct the conference. Weekend workshops will run June 19-20, and the weeklong main sessions will meet June 21-25 at UNL.

This year features four more faculty members than last year’s inaugural conference, Agee said, and adds workshops on writing for film and television. Also, more time will be available for attendees to meet with New York-based literary agents and publishers because those sessions were popular last summer.

“We think it’s great to bring these powerhouses in the literary world to Lincoln and Nebraska,” Agee said. “We’re proud and determined that people will know Nebraska is a hot place for literature.”

The location of the conference is ideal for many writers, said Kati Cramer, assistant director of the conference and a UNL doctoral student.

“Midwesterners are delighted that they don’t have to travel to the east and west coasts to study under talented, successful writers,” she said.

Workshops will be offered on writing novels, short stories, nonfiction, memoirs, poetry, screenplays, documentaries and writing for television. Participants also can attend sessions on self-publishing, creating unforgettable characters and discovering what an editor wants, to name a few examples. Individual consultations will be available with Sweeney or Weil, who are New York literary agents, or von Mehren, editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Penguin Books.

Janet Carlson, a staff member in the Department of English, is attending this year’s conference. She will participate in Pipher’s weeklong workshop, “Writing to Change Oneself or the World,” because she believes that is what writing can do.

“I’m looking at going through a spiritual journey and conveying that to other people (through writing), especially applying it to peace-making,” Carlson said. “I admire (Pipher) so much and what she’s doing with her writing. I just want to find out more about how she puts that all together.”

To register, for more information

Registrations for the Nebraska Summer Writers’ Conference will be accepted as long as space is available in individual workshops. More information about registration is available by calling 472-1834 or 797-2416. For details about the conference and the faculty, visit

Public readings

The public can attend panel discussions and six readings. The dates, times and places for the free panels and readings:

June 21: 11 a.m., publishing panel with professional agents and editors, Bailey Library at Andrews Hall, UNL. 7 p.m., reading by Rita Mae Brown, the Loft at the Mill, 800 P St., Suite 301. This reading and reception are co-sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Friends of the University of Nebraska Press.

June 22: 11 a.m., readings by Marcos Villatoro and Jesse Lee Kercheval, Bailey Library. 7 p.m., readings by Carl Phillips and Pam Houston, Hewit Place, 1155 Q St.

June 23: 7 p.m., readings by Mary Pipher and Sharon Oard Warner, Hewit Place.

June 24: 11 a.m., readings by Grace Bauer and Jane Barnes, Bailey Library. 7 p.m., readings by Robert Olen Butler and Elizabeth Dewberry, Hewit Place.



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