Saturday, April 17, 2010

Conferences? Summer Plans?

by Jennifer Brown

My semester is wrapping up and I’m thinking about plans for the summer. For the past several years I’ve done workshops at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. It was always a great experience—especially the year I had the pleasure of working with Bret Anthony Johnston, who is an amazing writing teacher. But Bret doesn’t teach there anymore, and I feel like I’ve outgrown the festival a bit. So this year I decided to try and get in somewhere a little more competitive. I’ve applied to three places—Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Tin House—with my preference being in that order (I’m already on the east coast). I got an acceptance letter from Tin House today, but I don’t expect to hear back from Sewanee for another couple of weeks, and I don’t expect to hear back from Bread Loaf until the end of May. Damn, waiting is hard! I think GMU has funds available to grad students who attend summer conferences, but I don’t know the details—I’ve put in an email to the grad programs manager for more information.

I've put up a video about Tin House on my personal blog--you can find it HERE.

Anyone else going to a summer conference? Does your school help you out with the cost of attendance? Maybe some of us will end up in the same place and can meet up?

Summer plans everyone?


  1. I actually know Bret. He hails from my alma mater (Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi), a small school with some excellent Creative Writing faculty. The prof who looked over his portfolio before applying to MFA programs also looked over mine! She is quite wonderful. Do check her out: Vanessa Jackson. Her husband is equally excellent, a poet named Robb Jackson. Just wanted to share the connection. His first book of short stories is set in my little South Texas town. Have you read it?

  2. I will probably apply to conferences, et al. next year. I flirted with Sewanee and Bread Loaf, but decided to take this summer for some 'me time'! i can't wait to hear how this pans out for you jennifer!

  3. Ali-- I have read Corpus Christi! What a great book of stories! I really can't say enough good stuff about Bret. I'm hoping that he will be at whatever conference I attend and I'll at least get to hear him give a craft talk or something (I know he was at Tin House last year, and I think he may have been at BL too).

  4. Congrats on Tin House!

    Let's see... I applied for a fellowship for black poets and I'll see if I got that at the end of April. If so, that happens in June.

    I'm considering applying for a week-long scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown for a week in July.

    Other than that, I'm hoping to work with the school as a graduate student who assists with summer orientation. I also want to take a screenwriting class during summer school. Outside of school and poetry, I'm going to my family's annual week long vacation in Vegas the first week in June.

  5. i didn't end up applying for anything this year. i'm in a tricky spot with a new book out as to what i can apply for (thinking of Bread Loaf here) so instead hoping to maybe pick up some teaching this summer that no one else wants :)

    good luck with it and congrats on Tin House!


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