Colgate Writers Conference to Ask: When the World Is in Crisis, Where Is the Writer?

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For nearly three decades, the Colgate Writers Conference has attracted more than 1,500 poets, playwrights, novelists, and writers to campus to participate in workshops with distinguished faculty, daily talks about the craft of writing, and discussions on the practicalities of publishing.

This year, the conference will be held June 19 through 25, and it will focus on the theme: When the world is in crisis, where is the writer? Admission is competitive, with approximately 100 community-minded writers chosen. 

Each day, the conference begins with a craft talk by a distinguished faculty member, followed by workshops, presentations by agents or editors, panel discussions on the conference theme, and an open-mic reading. 

While the week offers many of the traditional elements of a writers’ conference, it is the range of workshops that makes it distinctive and keeps people coming back. More than half of the participants are returning attendees, and roughly one-third are Colgate alumni.

“Our conference has a real reputation for being warm and welcoming, especially to writers who are young in their careers,” Associate Professor of English Jennifer Brice says. “And it’s a great part of Colgate’s portfolio in the arts.” 

Brice, who has directed the conference since 2019, is particularly proud of the creation of two full fellowships to the conference: the Matt Leone Fellowship, named for longtime conference director, and the Porch Fellowship, in honor of the Merrill House porch, a favorite evening spot for participants. Thanks to the support of the Colgate Arts Council, three full fellowships are also available to Colgate students.

“My hope,” Brice says, “is to raise the numbers and profile of our little conference without sacrificing any of the qualities that make it feel like one of the writing world’s best-kept secrets: warmth, intimacy, collegiality, and none of the hierarchies that strive to prevent faculty and participants from mingling.”

Learn more about the Colgate Writers Conference at and follow @ColgateWriters on Twitter.