The 2024 David R. Collins Writers Conference -- June 27 through 29.

Thursday, June 27, through Saturday, June 29

Augustana College's Sorensen Hall, 639 38th Street, Rock Island IL

Authors of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more will share their talents and help strengthen the talents of others during the Midwest Writing Center's 2023 David R. Collins Writers Conference at Augustana College's Sorensen Hall, a June 27 through 29 celebration of the written word boasting workshops, readings, book pitches, and more, with special events planned at several additional Quad Cities locales.

Four specific, three-day writing courses will be offered during the 2023 David R. Collins Writers' Conference:

Chad Simpson's "Fictional Forms: Short Fiction Workshop" (8:45 - 10:15 a.m.). In this generative workshop, participants will read and write stories that pretend to be something else — how-to-instructions; contributors’ notes; academic essays; indices — in order to explore the ways in which such fictions both act like the form they’re pretending to be and behave entirely differently. Simpson is the author of Tell Everyone I Said Hi, which won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award and was published by the University of Iowa Press. His work has appeared in many print and online publications, including McSweeney’s Quarterly, Esquire, American Short Fiction, No Tokens, The Sun, and New Stories from the Midwest.

Darius Stewart's "Mining Memory with Lyricism: Crafting Memoir through Lyric Essay" (10:30 a.m. - noon). In this workshop on the craft of memoir, attendees will embrace the lyric-essay mode to understand how fragmentation and non-linearity can structure personal experiences that reflect the inherently non-chronological nature of memory, allowing us to discover the emotions, sensations, and images that resonate most deeply and use them as the foundation for writing. Stuart received an MFA in poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin (2007) and an MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2020). In 2021, the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame honored him with the inaugural Emerging Writer Award, and he is currently a Lulu “Merle” Johnson Doctoral Fellow in English at the University of Iowa.

Sara Lupita Olivares' "Obscured Environments: A Generative Poetry Workshop" (1:45 - 3:15 p.m.). During this workshop, authors will have the chance to explore personal and familial relations to place, in addition to the cultural and historical pasts they may be embedded. They will work to look directly at what is physically there, as well as what is unknown and even unseeable, and this workshop will involve various writing activities, as well as opportunities to share the work written in this space with one another. Olivares is the author of Migratory Sound, which was selected as winner of the CantoMundo Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Field Things. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times, Black Warrior Review, Salt Hill Journal, Fugue, The Colorado Review, and she is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Rebecca McKanna's "Revising a Novel Draft by Draft" (3:30 - 5 p.m.). In this class, conference-goers will learn how to go from “discovery draft” to polished manuscript. Through a mix of lecture, examples, discussion, and in-class exercises, everyone will develop a stronger sense of direction for their novel-writing project and more confidence in their own writing process. Bettendorf native McKanna's debut novel Don’t Forget the Girl was published by Sourcebooks Landmark in June. Her short stories have been anthologized in The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 and recognized as distinguished in The Best American Short Stories 2019. She has been published in Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Third Coast, Joyland, and she is an associate professor of English at the University of Indianapolis.

Additionally scheduled events in the 2024 David R. Collins Writers Conference include: the Community Conversation Keynote featuring Writers’ Conference faculty members on June 27, from 6 - 8 p.m., at Davenport's Figge Art Museum (225 West Second Street); a Conference Faculty Reading and Participant Open Mic on June 28, beginning with a 6 p.m. social event, at Rock Island's Rozz-Tox (2108 Third Avenue); and a Concluding Luncheon in Augustana's Wilson Center (820 38th Street, Rock Island) on June 29 at noon - an event in which conference sponsors will be recognized and the faculty will reflect on their workshops over a catered lunch. Manuscript critiques and book pitches will also be scheduled throughout the weekend.

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 and visit

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