Around the Midwest: Upcoming Literary Conferences

Apr 2, 2015 by

book fair
(Making Literature 2015 book fair. Photo by Aaron Housholder.)
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In the busyness of classes, reading, and papers, we know it’s tough for English majors to commit to very many off-campus activities. Yet every year, a number of great literary conferences offer us the chance to connect with peers, be inspired by writers, and engage our discipline at a professional level. We’re thankful to host our own conference, Making Literature, every other year, and we’re already doing some vision-casting for Making Lit 2017. Until then, though, check out a few more opportunities around the Midwest in the coming year.

Indiana Faith and Writing Conference | Anderson University | October 30-31, 2015

We’re happy to say that this annual conference at Anderson has taken a literary turn: 2015 keynotes include renowned poet Li-Young Lee and celebrated essayist/novelist Scott Russell Sanders. Register by August 15 to take advantage of the early bird price. Keep an eye on their website as the roster of teachers and writers fills out for fall 2015.

Illuminating Words, Transforming Beauty (Midwest Conference on Christianity and Literature | Spring Arbor University | February 19-20, 2016

We’re excited to check out this conference, which is currently “inviting presentations that explore the challenges and opportunities that beauty offers to our culture.” They are looking for both scholarly and creative work, and the best part is that undergraduate submissions are welcome! Check out the link above, and get your best work ready to submit by September 30, 2015.

In Print Festival | Ball State University | (2016 dates not yet known, but 2015 was held in the month of March)

Ball State’s In Print Festival happens every spring. It’s a two-day literary event that typically features three emerging authors and an editor or publisher. This is an excellent opportunity for students to hear from writers at the earlier stages of their careers–and you won’t have to factor in very much travel or overnight stays, as it’s just down the road in Muncie. (We’ll update you when 2016 information becomes available.)

Voices of the Middle West | University of Michigan | (2016 dates not yet known, but 2015 was held in the month of March)

A group of us attended the 2015 Voices of the Middle West conference recently, and were treated to fantastic panel discussions on a variety of topics related to writing from and about the Midwest. The book fair featured over thirty publishers, literary journals, and organizations committed to the written word and headquartered in our region. And as it’s a one-day event, you won’t have to plan any overnights. (We’ll update you when 2016 information becomes available.)

Festival of Faith and Writing | Calvin College | April 14-16, 2016

The Festival of Faith and Writing happens every other year in Grand Rapids. It is certainly the granddaddy of art-and-faith writing conferences, having hosted luminaries like Maya Angelou, John Updike, Salman Rushdie, Elie Wiesel, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Karr, and many others. A number of us from the Taylor English Department attend, and often bring a van, so be sure to ask early to reserve your place. Keep an eye on the festival website for when they announce the 2016 speakers.

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