Sun Valley Writers’ Conference Expands Speaker Series and Offers New Passes


The Sun Valley Writers’ Conference is coming up with a few new initiatives as it gears up for its July 16-18 annual conference.

  • The conference will offer a limited number of half-price “Next Generation Passes” to under-35s at its 2022 conference.

    This is the first time the conference has offered such passes. The idea is to inspire the next generation of SWWC participants. Those wishing to take advantage of this opportunity can join a waiting list at [email protected]

    Another novelty this year:

  • New Voices Fellowship. This new scholarship program is designed to provide literary experience for emerging talent. This year’s fellows are Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sanae Lemoine and Kalani Pickhart, whose debut novels tackle themes of displacement and desire, war and love.

    The program is made possible by the support of John and Ginna Grossman of the Grossman Foundation in honor of Peggy Grossman.

  • Scholars & Fellows Program. This program is divided into two branches: Writing Fellows and Education Fellows.

    The first is designed for educators and will offer Teach for America representatives the opportunity to attend the conference in hopes of establishing future collaboration with teachers and classrooms across the TFA corps.

    The other part of the program will bring four new fellows to the conference, two from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and two from Louisiana State University’s Creative Writing MFA program. The scholarship recipients were nominated by the professors.

  • Community Researcher Program. This includes two full passes for the Creative Writing Department at Boise State University, a full pass for the Executive Director of the Community Library through the Barbara and Jim Cimino Fellowship, and a full pass for a local teacher. or a high school student through the Gary Hunt Scholarship.

    Full passes are also provided to the three valley libraries and two local bookstores. Wood River Valley students and teachers are welcome to attend the clubhouse talks free of charge if space is available.

  • Community Scholars Student/Author Luncheon with Anthony Doerr

    This already existing program – a collaboration between SVWC and local high schools – will offer students the chance to speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anthony Doerr of Boise during a private lunch. Language arts students will receive advance copies of Doerr’s book “Cloud Cuckoo Land” and will also be invited to attend his presentation at the pavilion.

    Past writers for this particular program have included Colson Whitehead, who wrote “The Underground Railroad”.

  • Additionally, the conference is expanding its free speaker series in partnership with the community library.

Last March, Heather Hansman spoke on “Water and the West”. And the conference is planning a young adult speaker for local schools this fall.

Summer speakers will feature Imbolo Mbue, author of the novel “We Were,” on July 11; Erich Schwartzel, who wrote “Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy” on July 13, and Ayad Akhtar, author of “Homeland Elegies: A Novel” on July 20.

The July talks will take place at 7 p.m. at the Ketchum Forest Service Park, weather permitting. No registration is required, just bring yourself a blanket and a picnic.

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