Just got back in touch with my friend George Getschow after a few months of us both being so buried in work that we’ve not been in contact. That’s a bad thing–I miss him.
He’s buried in work because he is the organizer of one of the best writing conferences in the country–the Mayborn Literary Non-Fiction Writers Conference of the Southwest. That’s a mouthful and I can never remember the full name, but its an amazing conference. You can read all about it here.
Joyce Carol Oates is the keynote speaker, along with an amazing roster of luminaries. George has a knack for getting big names, because the conference has such a great reputation. Last year he had Gay Talese and the first year Susan Orlean as keynoters.
I’ll be leading the book manuscript workshop this year as I did last year, working with 10 amazing writers to critique their manuscripts. The conference is giving away $12,000 in contracts–yes, real book contracts–this year, so its really worth entering the contest. I was impressed with the caliber of work last year, much of it coming from seasoned professionals.
George teaches journalism at the University of North Texas, and he is the standard bearer for literary non-fiction, a passionate advocate of the craft. Every year around the time of the Mayborn conference, he also teaches a three-week conference in Archer City.
Archer City is the birthplace and occasional stomping ground of author Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove, and The Last Picture Show which is actually set in Archer City. McMurtry owns bookstores there. I’ve traveled to the town the last two summers to talk to George’s students about using fictional techniques in non-fiction. The place is amazing, a true western icon.
I wrote a story about my experiences the first year that was published here. You have to go to the archives, then click on November 2005, then click on Texas.
Anyway, check out the conference and if you have any interest in literary non-fiction, consider going.