The David R. Collins Writers Conference at St. Ambrose University -- June 27 through 29.

Thursday, June 27, through Saturday, June 29

St. Ambrose University's McCarthy Hall, 518 West Locust Street, Davenport IA

Authors of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more will share their talents and help strengthen the talents of others during the Midwest Writing Center's annual David R. Collins Writers Conference at Davenport's St. Ambrose University, a June 27 through 29 celebration of the written word boasting workshops, readings, book pitches, and more.

For burgeoning area writers, five three-day workshops will be held at this year's conference. New York Times and Washington Post journalist Lyz Lenz presents “Writing the Personal Essay,” a course that, through assigned readings and writing prompts, will guide students through the process of creating essays that use personal experience to give readers new insight into the world. Lenz will also lead “Selling Nonfiction: A Freelancing Workshop,” an intensive course that begins with idea generation, explores the art of the successful story pitch, and teaches attendees how to find the right homes for their writing.

The founding editor of Prompt Press – a project connecting visual artists, book artists, and writers – and co-organizer of the Free Generative Writing Workshops in Iowa City, Jennifer Colville leads the course “Shaping the Short Story,” in which she'll use the principles of Aristotle, Poe, Hawthorne, and others as basic armatures, and from there work to guide students' stories toward their rightfully traditional or yet-to-be-invented form. This fall's Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, author Derrick Austin guides fledgling writers into the poetry workshop “Ways of Seeing,” in which, through discussions of art, performance, and poetry, attendees will discover the myriad way ekphrasis not only grounds us in the self but forces one to confront history and aesthetics. And Lucy Tan, whose What We Were Promised was named a “Best Book of 2018” by the Washington Post, will shepherd “From Novel Idea to Immersive First Draft,” a course designed to deepen your understanding of characters, hone your skills for writing scenes, and take a close look at novel structure.

Numerous additional events are scheduled for the 2019 David R. Collins Writers Conference, which kicks off with the Figge Art Museum's June 27 hosting of the 6 p.m. Conference Keynote, featuring hors d'oeuvres, meet-and-greats with conference participants, and a presentation by keynote speaker Ben Miller. An essayist and fiction author who has received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Miller wrote the nonfiction River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll Amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa, a debut memoir that details Miller's growing up with and around seminal figures in Quad Cities literary history. And with 10-minute book pitches available courtesy of the Midwest Writing Center's Jodie Toohey and representatives from 918studio press and Legacy Book Press, other events in the 2019 David R. Collins Writers Conference include: the June 28 Practical Publishing Luncheon with Steve Semken, author and owner/publisher of Ice Cube Press; the June 28 DRC Conference Social Mixer and Faculty Book Signing at Rock Island venue Rozz-Tox; and the June 29 Mary Foster Concluding Luncheon in St. Ambrose's Gottlieb Lounge.

For more information on all of the events in this year's June 27 through 29 David R. Collins Writers Conference, and to register for conference workshops, call the Midwest Writing Center at (309)732-7330 or visit

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