English department to host second writers conference May 31

Thrity Umrigar
Thrity Umrigar

The Department of English will host the second Breaking Genre: A Writers Conference May 31 on the Mather Quad.  This one-day conference will include presentations and intensive workshops led by some of the area’s renowned authors and poets, including a keynote address by bestselling novelist and English professor Thrity Umrigar.

Umrigar, the author of The World We Found, will give the keynote address, “The Lives of Others: The Novel as Looking Glass.” In response to the idea of “writing what one knows,” her address will speak to the power of writing about topics and people we don’t know as practices that can illuminate both our understandings of the world and of ourselves. Umrigar is the author of a memoir and six novels, including The Space Between Us, The Weight of Heaven and the forthcoming The Story Hour.

The conference offers two types of opportunities to work with and learn from a variety of writers in either intensive workshops or in presentations. Faculty members Joyce Dyer, Mary Biddinger and Michael Grant Jaffe will lead intensive workshops on memoir and genre hybridity, poetry and story, and fiction and character development. These workshops will feature manuscript consultations and web contact with workshop leaders. Faculty members Cinda Williams Chima, Philip Metres, Lynn Powell, Jim Sheeler, S. Andrew Swann and Sam Thomas will teach classes on young adult fiction, documentary poetics, engaging young writers in poetry, multimedia storytelling, world-building in fiction and historical fiction. All presentations will include discussion and writing exercises.

General admission is $95. Admission is $75 Case Western Reserve University faculty, staff and students admission. A box lunch is included in the cost of the conference. Tickets can be purchased online.

The number of spots available for the intensive workshops is limited. These workshops cost an additional $30. Manuscripts of 10 pages of poetry or 25 pages of double-spaced fiction will be accepted. Spaces must be reserved on a first come, first served basis through the registration page.

A book fair will be on site from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mac’s Backs will be the resident bookstore, along with other university and local presses and journals.

Free parking will be available in the Cleveland Institute of Art parking lot across the street from Guilford House.

For more information, contact Susan Grimm at 216.368.1508, or writersconference@case.edu, or visit the event’s Facebook page.