2015 Wyoming Writers Conference Faculty

Wyoming Writers 2015 Conference Presenters

By Tom Spence


       If you have the 2015 edition of your calendar (the one with the Harley Davidson motorcycles, or mountain scenes, or vintage cars, or fuzzy pets)  write it in– June 5, 6, 7.  Put the dates in your cell phone’s daily planner—June 5, 6, 7, 2015.    Arrange some Post-Its™ in strategic places around your home (depending on the kind of writer your are—the cookie jar, the coffee grinder, the liquor safe, the medicine cabinet) with the dates, June 5, 6, 7, 2015.    After a shower, remind yourself by writing the dates in the steam on the mirror, June 5, 6, 7, 2015.    If  you’re planning elective surgery, a trip into an unexplored cave,  or to be kidnapped,  put those off until after June 5, 6, 7, 2015.


web-aaron-abeyta1007The Board of Wyoming Writers is excited to have the poet, Aaron Abeyta, from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, as our presenter in poetry workshops, and as our keynote speaker.  When the word got out that Aaron was coming, we got messages from people praising the choice.  Poets, writers, and teachers who have had the privilege of working with Aaron in a variety of workshop and classroom settings were enthusiastic about both his writing and his thoughtful approach to teaching and motivating poetry from the roots up.

Aaron says:  “The poet must be both ‘piper’ and ‘bard,’ tender and turbulent, dangerous and comforting; the poet must be able to understand, as Czeslaw Milosz put it: ‘In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent: a thing brought forth which we didn’t know we had in us, so we blink our eyes….’ ( Ars Poetica)”    In our correspondence he excerpted another poet from workshop material, the American, Mary Oliver:  “‘…just/ pay attention, then patch/ a few words together and don’t try/ to make them elaborate, this isn’t/ a contest but the doorway…’ (from Praying).   In short, we must be observant and ‘prayerful’ in our watchfulness of the world around us.”

Aaron has a B. A. in English, and an M. F. A. in Poetry from Colorado State University.  His most recent collection:  Letters from the Headwaters (Western Press Books) in out this year.  An earlier collection, Colcha won the American Book Award for Poetry, and the Colorado Book Award.  His list of publications and appearances is lengthy.

Aaron will also be presenting the keynote address.  He is working on theme and a focus.  And, we can’t wait!

Laura PritchettLaura Pritchett will be our featured presenter on the novel—not just the  big picture and big problems, but the nitty-gritty too.  Her “breakout” novel, Stars Go Blue (Counterpoint Press, 2014) was “starred” by Booklist and the Library Journal:  “…a brilliant novel filled with heartache and humor that will strike a chord with many readers.  A heart-wrenching exploration of a family in crisis.”  Laura’s collection of stories, Hell’s Bottom Colorado (Milkweed Editions, 2014), was the winner of the PEN USA award and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.

Laura has a B. A. and an M. A. from Colorado State University, and PhD. in English from Purdue University.  She is a member of the faculty of Pacific University’s MFA program.  But, that’s not all.  She does non-fiction, essay and memoir, writes nature and environmental issues; she has a fondness for re-cyclers (see: Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers; University of Oklahoma Press; 2009.).


Kent NelsonKent Nelson has published more short stories than almost any other American writer in our time.” (Kent Haruf, best-selling author of Plainsong).    “(Nelson’s)… descriptions of land and light create perfect backgrounds for characters who struggle to find meaningful ways to live their lives….This new collection [Spirit Bird: Stories;  University of Pittsburgh Press; 2014;  winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.] shows why he’s so frequently published.  It’s simply because he’s so good.”

The Wyoming Writers Board is proud and excited that Kent is coming to our 2015 Conference.  He will be discussing many aspects of short fiction, not just crafting a good story, but getting it placed, anthologized; or…, the collection.


You’d better believe it!  Bring your best work, your best pitch; be practiced, be ready.  You noticed Milkweed Editions mentioned above?  Well, Patrick Thomas, is the top editor of that house, and he is coming to present a workshop on the state of publishing, and to receive pitches at our conference.

Tiffany Schofield Senior Editor

Tiffany Schofield from Five Star Publications will be travelling from “down East” to our Conference, looking for manuscripts, particularly for Five Star’s Western Mystery and Frontier Fiction division which focuses on Western stories and novels.  But her interests are more inclusive.  Pitch your best.



Meghan Saar

And, Meghan Saar, senior editor of True West Magazine wants to hear pitches and give advice on the non-fiction of Western lore—history, memoir, remembrances.  That is the focus of True West Magazine.


So, to repeat the theme of my essay.  Set aside June 5, 6, and 7, 2015 to attend the Wyoming Writers, Inc., Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Round up your writing friends, get your writing group formed up; tell them that the snarky criticism of your last manuscript is water under the bridge, and that all will be forgiven while car-pooling to the Conference.   Your Board is working on the brochure and as soon as it’s done, we’ll get it out to you members, and others, so you can visit your local community college and/or high school with your own pitch to the students to join up and sign up.

This is the event, folks!  And, here’s a known fact:  Your garden next summer will be more productive if you attend the Wyoming Writers, Inc., Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming, June 5, 6,  and 7, 2015. Need I say more?

Written on the coldest day of the year, but June will be here soon, 
Tom Spence


Bookmark this website for more updates on the 41st Annual Wyoming Writers Conference in Cheyenne June 5-7, 20

WAC_CMYK_Vert-01  Supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the Wyoming State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.