Engaged Learning

MFA Information Session: Summer Writing Conferences Demystified

by Daniel Morgan

With conference application deadlines approaching, MFA in Writing faculty member Dave Madden volunteered an hour of his time to elucidate to students the finer points of applying to and attending summer writing conferences.

Every summer, writers have a variety of writing conferences available to them. The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in Tennessee, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference right here in California are just a few of them.

Madden spoke about what exactly these conferences comprise, the people who attend them, which accomplished writers might be on the conference’s faculty, how much the conferences generally cost, and shared his personal experiences attending Bread Loaf and Sewanee.

He also offered tips on how to afford the conference’s tuition (there are scholarships available) and how to avoid common pitfalls when applying for admission (for those conferences requiring applications; some are first come, first served).

Madden’s take away message? “Do it, because why not?” There are some exceptions, he said, but conferences are, most importantly, beneficial to your work — but also a great way to network, and just plain fun.

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