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2016 VQR Writers’ Conference

The third annual VQR Writers’ Conference takes place July 13–17, 2016, on the grounds of the historic University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Our conference is designed for serious writers at all stages of their careers looking for inspiration and camaraderie. 

Public Event

We welcome the public to attend the featured event of the conference, a reading by Rita Dove, which takes place at the Fralin Museum of Art at 5:30 PM on Saturday, July 16. 

The workshop faculty for the 2016 conference are:

Fiction Writing Workshop

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Remember Me Like This (Random House, 2014), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great Writers selection, and the winner of the 2015 McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize. The book has been translated around the world and is being made into a major motion picture. He is also the author of the short-story collection Corpus Christi (Random House, 2004) and the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer (Random House, 2008). His work has appeared in the Atlantic, the Paris Review, the New York Times MagazineEsquireGlimmer Train, and Tin House, as well as in the anthologies Best American Short StoriesPushcartBest American Sports Writing, and New Stories from the South. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation, he is the director of creative writing at Harvard University.

 Nonfiction Writing Workshop

Meghan Daum is the author of four books, most recently the collection of original essays The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion (FSG, 2014), which won the 2015 PEN Center USA Award for creative nonfiction. She is also the editor of the New York Times bestseller Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids (Picador, 2015). Her other books include the essay collection My Misspent Youth (Open City, 2001), the novel The Quality of Life Report (Viking, 2003), and Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House (Knopf, 2010), a memoir. Since 2005, she has been an opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, and Vogue. She is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and is an adjunct associate professor in the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

 Poetry Writing Workshop

Major Jackson is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors. He teaches at the University of Vermont and is the poetry editor of the Harvard Review. His latest book of poems is Roll Deep (Norton, 2015). His first book, Leaving Saturn, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. Each of his last two collections, Hoops and Holding Company, was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature–Poetry. He lives in South Burlington, Vermont.


 Craft Talk and Reading

Karolina Waclawiak is a novelist and screenwriter. Her critically acclaimed first novel, How To Get Into The Twin Palms, was published by Two Dollar Radio in 2012. Her second novel, The Invaders (ReganArts, 2015), was recently optioned by ABC Television. AWOL, a feature she cowrote with director Deb Shoval, premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Madame Psychosis Holds A Séance, a short film she cowrote with artist and director Rosson Crow, stars Kelly Lynch and is currently on view at the Fort Worth Museum of Art. Formerly an editor at the Believer, she is now the Deputy Culture Editor at BuzzFeed. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, VQR, the Believer, and other publications. Waclawiak received her BFA in Screenwriting from USC School of Cinematic Arts and her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University.

Featured Reader

Rita Dove is a former US Poet Laureate (1993–1995) and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her book Thomas and Beulah (Carnegie Mellon, 1986). Her most recent books are Collected Poems: 1974-2004 (Norton, 2016), Sonata Mulattica (Norton, 2009), and American Smooth (Norton, 2004), and she is the editor of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). Her honors include the 2011 National Medal of Arts. She is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.