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Robert Atwan Joins WLP Faculty to Launch Summer Writers' Conference

Robert Atwan
November 14, 2011

Robert Atwan, the series editor of the prestigious annual collection, The Best American Essays, has been appointed a special assignment faculty member at Emerson College. Atwan founded the Best American Essays series in 1985.

As series editor he has collaborated with such prominent authors as Joyce Carol Oates, Cynthia Ozick, Gay Talese, Annie Dillard, Susan Orlean, Adam Gopnik, Christopher Hitchens, and the late David Foster Wallace and Susan Sontag. The series is widely regarded as the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest creative nonfiction.

Atwan’s special assignment is to help the college develop and launch an annual summer writing program on the Boston campus. The program, which is called the Boston Summer Writers’ Conference, is scheduled to debut the week of June 24 2012. It will feature addresses and readings by such literary luminaries as Ann Beattie, Robin Hemley and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Paul Harding, along with workshops in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama conducted by such outstanding writers as David Lehman, Jill McCorkle, Phillip Lopate, and Adam Bock.

Highlights include daily social gatherings and nightly readings that will foster a spirit of community among writers, and special craft panels featuring poets and writers from creative writing faculty in Emerson's Writing, Literature and Publishing Department.

Atwan will work with the conference’s Director, Jerald Walker, Interim Chair of Writing, Literature and Publishing, and coordinator Steve Yarbrough to build one of the nation’s top summer writing programs. “It’s odd that so many summer writing conferences are held in suburban or rural settings,” Atwan noted. “We’ll be different, right in the heart of a great cultural city that we will encourage our participants to explore and enjoy. I’m hoping we’ll be seen as an urban Bread Loaf.”

Class size will be restricted, so early application is encouraged. The application deadline is April 13, 2012. To learn more about the Boston Summer Writers' Conference at Emerson College, call 617-824-8280 or visit the Office of Professional Studies .

WLP Associate Professor Jabari Asim explains how Emerson's program combines academic study with creative work.
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