Acclaimed Authors come to USD Writer’s Conference
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Acclaimed Authors come to USD Writer’s Conference

The 12th Biennial John R. Milton Writers’Conference is being held from Sept. 16-18 here at USD. 

This year’s keynote author is Mary Gaitskill, who wrote the novels, “The Mare” and “Veronica,” which were both nominated for the National Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Award in 2005. 

Other featured authors include John Domini, Steven Dunn, Karen McElmurry, Christine Stewart-Nunéz, Leah McCormack, Lee Ann Roripaugh and Pete Dexter. 

Another featured author, and the Chair of the Conference, is Duncan B. Barlow. He has a Ph.D in English and is a lecturer at USD.  

“We seek to invite notable authors that represent diverse perspectives and approaches to writing. This year’s conference will be host to over 90 panelists who will read creative or scholarly work during the panels on Friday and Saturday,” Barlow said.

Barlow is the author of five books and is currently revising a memoir and a book of short stories. Barlow is a Publisher at Astrophil Press and Managing Editor at South Dakota Review.

“The 2021 conference theme, ‘Prospecting: Uncovering New Veins and Voices in Identity, Genre, and Place,’ will explore important issues of place, form, and representation. The theme refers to the search for new avenues of expression for authors,” Barlow said. “The conference is interested in the ways in which authors and scholars are finding new creative possibilities, innovative approaches to pedagogy and avenues of scholarly discourse.”

Justin Gray, the Graduate Assistant to the conference, said this conference is important and fun.

“We are getting these nationally published writers who have made their mark on the literary world,” Gray said. “You know, someone like Mary Gaitskill just has a body that is influential to contemporary literature. It’s a great opportunity to hear from these people.”

English majors and anyone interested in English are encouraged to go. 

“If you’re an English major who is interested in more of the critical side and not the creative side, throughout the conference there are critical presentations,” Gray said. “So, you can meet people from all over the country—scholars who are thinking about literature, storytelling in different ways—and you get to hear how they are approaching it.”