The Taos Writers Conference, sponsored by Taos Literary Organization SOMOS, is not only one of the most affordable writing conferences in the country, but according to The Writer magazine, it’s also one of the best. from the southwest.
The sixth annual conference will take place in person and virtually via Zoom from Friday, July 29 through Sunday, July 31, and will feature an impressive roster of diverse faculty and topics. At the end of the UNM-sponsored summer writers conference, Jan Smith, executive director of SOMOS, saw the opportunity to offer an annual writers conference. “Given the literary history and tradition of Taos, I wanted to offer an annual writers conference,” she explained. “I have added new faculty members who have never taught at the conference before and who have successful careers as writers and instructors.”
The weekend conference will feature keynote speaker, Ana Castillo. The Chicana novelist is a poet, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator and independent researcher. Castillo is considered one of the leading voices of the Chicana experience and known for her experimental style as a Latina novelist. Her novel, Sapogonia, was a New York Times Book of the Year in 1990, and her text, So Far from God, was a New York Times Book of the Year in 1993. She has received several awards, including a 1987 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for his first novel, The Mixquiahuala Letters, a Carl Sandburg Award, a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts in fiction and poetry. , and in 1998, the Sor Juana Achievement Award from the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago.
A range of workshops will offer participants the opportunity to engage in sessions that are primarily generative rather than critical in style, and are open to all levels of writers in the genres of fiction, historical fiction, creative non-fiction, memoirs, short stories, essays, and poetry.
In addition to the readings, the outstanding group of faculty members will lead a variety of workshops. The faculty will include Veronica Golos, local author of four books of poetry; Connie Josefs, writer, teacher and memoir coach; David Meischen, Pushcart Prize-winning author; Sawnie Morris, award-winning author; New Mexico Book Award winner Melanie Sumner; Leeanna Torres, essayist and native daughter of the American Southwest; and Bob Arellano, musician, poet and author of seven novels.
Arellano was an early member of the DH Lawrence Society of North America, and presented and performed his project which adapted DH Lawrence’s last poems for audio recording and performance at the 10th International DH Lawrence Conference in Santa Fe. “I humbly strive to bring the late great novelist, essayist, poet, and Taoseño (via San Cristobal) into the living moment,” Arellano said of Friday’s intensive Setting into Motion workshop: Generative Writing with DH Lawrence, he created and will facilitate.
Other experts and professors on the subject include Amy Beeder, Michael Blevins, Don Cellini, TJ English, Stephanie Han, Elizabeth Jacobson, Jesse Maloney, Linda Michel-Cassidy, Juan Morales, Sean Murphy, Mary Oishi, and Adrienne Pond. New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Author EJ Levy will lead a workshop on writing in the second person. “At a time when we as a culture struggle to empathize with each other and with ourselves, the second person is invigorating, inviting us inside of you and us as we venture with the writer to tell a story from the inside out. It’s arguably the perfect vantage point for our difficult times,” Levy explained.
Registration is open until today (Thursday) July 28 at 5:00 p.m. Interested participants can choose to attend all three days, including the lunchtime roundtables, or just the workshops, the Friday intensive, or Castillo’s keynote, for $15.00. For more information, visit www.somostaos.org/taos-writers-conference.