A nationally-renowned poet who calls Napa County home will join the visiting faculty of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, giving local writers and book lovers a new connection to the week-long poetry and fiction workshop, now in its 38th year as a project of Napa Valley College.
Jane Mead is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently World of Made and Unmade, which was nominated for a National Book Award and a finalist for the Griffin Prize for excellence in poetry and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Among her honors are a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award.
Mead’s appearance in the faculty lineup coincides with the conference’s continuing efforts to engage the local community. For the second year in a row, scholarships designated specifically for Napa County writers are available to partially underwrite the fees for this year’s conference, slated for July 29 – August 3.
Applications are now open to participate in the juried fiction and poetry workshops, with a deadline of April 2. A reading fee of $25 is due upon application, and full tuition costs $1,025.
Funds for the scholarships were contributed by the Napa Valley Writers, which is the local branch of the California Writers’ Club, and Napa’s Community Projects Foundation.
Collaborative programming with the St. Helena Public Library is also in the works for a second year, conference director Angela Pneuman said.
“Thanks to partnerships, we’re finding ways to make the conference accessible for our hometown community — both readers and writers,” said Pneuman.
This year’s visiting faculty lineup continues the conference tradition of featuring authors as renowned for their teaching as for their publications. On the poetry faculty, Mead will be joined by:
- Camille Dungy, the author of the essay collection “Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race,” “Motherhood,” and “History” and four collections of poetry, most recently Trophic Cascade. She edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.
- Conference mainstay Brenda Hillman, who has written 10 collections of poetry, including “Extra Hidden Life, among the Days.” Previous titles include “Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire,” which received the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2014. She has also co-translated “At Your Feet” by Ana Cristina César, forthcoming this year.
- Carl Phillips, author of 14 books of poetry, most recently “Wild Is the Wind” and “Reconnaissance,” winner of the PEN USA Award and the Lambda Literary Award. He is also the author of two books of prose: “The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination” and “Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry.”
Fiction workshops will be led by:
- Lan Samantha Chang, the author of three books: the novella “All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost,” the novel “Inheritance,” and “Hunger: A Novella” and Stories. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, and Best American Short Stories. Chang directs the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
- Lauren Groff, the author of three novels, including “Fates and Furies,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. Her short fiction has been published in journals including the New Yorker, Atlantic, and American Short Fiction, and in two collections of short stories, the latest of which is Florida.
- Mat Johnson, who has written the novels “Loving Day,” “Pym,” “Drop,” and “Hunting in Harlem,” as well as the nonfiction novella “The Great Negro Plot” and the comic books “Incognegro” and “Dark Rain.” He is a recipient of the United States Artist James Baldwin Fellowship and the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, among other honors.
- Howard Norman, whose new novel, “In the Hours Still Left to Us,” will be published early in 2019, followed by a memoir, “Forms of Prayer in Vermont.” His novels include “The Bird Artist,” “What Is Left the Daughter,” “Next Life Might Be Kinder,” and “My Darling Detective.” His most recent memoir is “I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place.”
For more about the upcoming literary events and the summer conference faculty, and to complete the online application to participate in the summer conference, visit napawritersconference.org. To join the conference community online, “like” the conference at facebook.com/napawriters or follow twitter.com/napawriters.