KINGSTON, R.I., Oct. 3, 2017—Journalists, editors,
memoirists, novelists, poets and other accomplished writers and editors will
gather at the University of Rhode Island later this month for its annual three-day
Masha Gessen, a Russian-born journalist who has written
extensively about Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald J.
Trump, will give the conference’s keynote lecture on Friday, Oct. 27.
Free and open to the public, the lecture will start at 4
p.m. in the Agnes B. Doody Auditorium in Swan Hall, 600 Upper College Road on
the Kingston campus. Parking is also free.
In her book The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise
of Vladimir Putin, Gessen wrote of how Putin, a low-level KGB operative,
ascended to the Russian presidency and, in a short time, destroyed years of
Gessen is the author of ten books. Her most recent
book, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, is out this
month and has been long-listed for the National Book Award in Nonfiction.
Gessen also writes about gender issues and human rights
violations in Russia.
She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, The
New Yorker, The Washington Post and The New York Review of
Books, among other publications. She was born in Moscow and lives in New
“We’re thrilled to welcome Masha Gessen to URI,” says Tina
Egnoski, conference director. “She’s a fearless activist and journalist whose
work is courageous and bold.”
The conference is being held in the fall this year, instead
of the summer, to provide participants an opportunity to attend other campus
events and give URI students more access to readings and workshops. “In
particular,” says Egnoski, “we look forward to robust engagement with faculty,
staff and undergraduates.”
Along with workshops in fiction, poetry and creative
nonfiction, the conference, in its 11th year, will offer talks in screenwriting
and historical narratives, a publishing panel and participant reading.
Featured this year are:
· Memoirist Kenny Fries, who
received the prestigious Creative Capital literature grant for his book, In the
Province of the Gods. His book The History of My Shoes and the Evolution
of Darwin’s Theory, won the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers
Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.
· Novelist Michael Lowenthal,
who is the author of The Paternity Test and was an IndieNext selection and
Lambda Literary Award finalist in 2012. His previous novels are The Same
Embrace, Avoidance and Charity Girl, which was a New York Times Book Review
Editors’ Choice and a Washington Post Top Fiction of 2007.
· Poet Major Jackson, who is
the author of four collections of poetry, including Roll Deep, which was hailed
in the New York Times Book Review as a remixed odyssey. His first book,
Leaving Saturn, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for a
National Book Critics Circle Award.
The conference’s publishing panel, “Demystifying Publication
and Prizes,” will give participants advice about submitting to literary
journals and finding the right agent or editor. Discussions will also focus on
changes and trends in publishing. Panelists include Heidi Pitlor, series editor
of The Best American Short Stories, and Lucas Mann, author of Lord Fear: A
Besides Gessen’s keynote address, the following events will
be open to the public: Oct. 26 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Green Hall, second
floor, 35 Campus Ave., a reading with Fries; Oct. 27 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.,
Green Hall, second floor, a reading with Jackson; Oct. 28, from 1 to 2 p.m.,
Swan Hall, The Robert Leuci Memorial Reading with Michael Lowenthal.
For a full schedule and information about registration and
fees, visit web.uri.edu/writing-conference
or call 401-874-4663. Early-registration discounts for the workshops are
offered until Oct. 10. The discount for URI students is $250.