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Writers’ conference will explore ‘What is Nonfiction?’
Writers’ conference will explore ‘What is Nonfiction?’April 01, 2008Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Award-winning author Judith Kitchen and nationally acclaimed poet and essayist Minnie Bruce Pratt, professor in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program, will be the keynote speakers for the Writing Program’s Spring Conference, “What is Nonfiction?” April 16 and 17. This year’s spring conference theme launches a new Writing Program initiative, the Nonfiction Reading Series, and is co-sponsored by the Department of English.
The conference will feature a discussion and readings by Kitchen and Pratt from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, in Room 500 of the Hall of Languages. The Wednesday sessions are free and open to the public. Reduced-rate parking will be available in the University Avenue Garage.
Kitchen will discuss “The Non in Nonfiction.” She will address what nonfiction isn’t as well as what it is, outlining what a writer’s responsibilities are when he or she labels a work as nonfiction. Pratt’s talk, “Stranger than Fiction: Some Thoughts on Essaying Creative Nonfiction,” will address her forays into writing essays and creative nonfiction, as well as some of the larger theoretical issues bound up in writing nonfiction.
The Wednesday sessions will also feature open microphone readings from 3-4:15 p.m., followed by a wine and cheese reception and book signing.
On Thursday, April 17, students will have an opportunity to workshop their writing pieces with Kitchen, and SU faculty and instructors interested in teaching nonfiction writing will join her for an informal lunch conversation.
The Nonfiction Reading series will feature local, national and international writers of all types of nonfiction: memoir and autobiography, the personal essay, political essays and historical narrative, among others. The series will also feature SU undergraduate, graduate and faculty writers presenting their works in-progress.
Kitchen is author of “The House on Eccles Road” (Graywolf Press, 2003), winner of the S. Mariella Gable Prize, as well as two collections of essays and a critical study of William Stafford. Her awards include a National Education Association fellowship in poetry and a Pushcart Prize in nonfiction. She has been the invited guest at many residencies, including Centrum, the Split Rock Arts Program, the Vermont Studio Center and the Chautauqua Writers Institute, and is an advisory and contributing editor for the Georgia Review.
Pratt is author of six books of poetry, including “Crime Against Nature” (Firebrand Books, 1990) and “The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Pratt has received a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2005 Fellowship in Poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 1989, “Crime Against Nature,” writings about Pratt’s relationship to her two sons as a lesbian mother, was chosen as the Lamont Poetry Selection by the Academy of American Poets; in 1991, it received the American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award for Literature. Pratt has also published collections of autobiographical and political essays, including “Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991” (Firebrand Books, 1991), which includes her feminist classic “Identity: Skin Blood Heart.”
Further information about the Nonfiction Reading Series is available at http://wrt.syr.edu/newsarchive/nonfiction_reading_series/.