Mennonite/s Writing 2022: An International Conference
Thirty Years of Mennonite/s Writing: Responding to the Past, Creating the Future
Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2022
Early bird registration (April 1 — Sept. 1):
Regular registration (Closes Sept. 20):
*Registration fee includes Saturday night banquet.
Pre-conference Creative Writing Workshops Add-on:
All workshops are $40*
*Sign up beginning April 1, 2022. Please use the registration form to reserve your place. Spaces limited.
If you are a high school or college student, please see your English professor or teacher to make arrangements, or email Ann Hostetler at firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
About the Speakers & Workshop descriptions
Casey Plett: Closed/Open
Casey Plett is the author of A Dream of a Woman, Little Fish, A Safe Girl to Love, the co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy From Transgender Writers, and the Publisher at LittlePuss Press. She has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the Winnipeg Free Press, and other publications. A winner of the Amazon First Novel Award, the Firecracker Award for Fiction, and a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award, her work has also been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She splits her time between New York City and Windsor, Ontario.
Workshop with Casey Plett: Closed/Open
“Write with the door closed, re-write with the door open.” is a famous quote from Stephen King’s On Writing who in turn got the lesson from an editor. King said you should begin your story with the intent of it being just for you, and then open it up for others to criticize. Was he right? When do you open the door? When do you keep it shut? For how long? How do you balance the humility of seeking criticism if it conflicts with what’s exciting you? In this workshop, we will discuss the freedom of privacy and the nourishment of community, and how these twin phenomena can balance, oppose, and synchronize. Students will do a couple short exercises, participate in group discussion, have the opportunity to share work (but will not be required to do so!) and come away with a list of tangible strategies for moving forward in their writing.
Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Steven Rubin: Works of Witness
Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Liberal Arts Professor of English at Penn State University, is author of four books of poetry: Sleeping Preacher; Eve’s Striptease; Poetry in America; and Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields, a documentary project created in collaboration with Steven Rubin. Shale Play was selected to represent Pennsylvania in the 2021 Route 1 Reads initiative. She has also published a collection of her own essays, The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life, and the biographical study, Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American. She is currently working with Rubin on Homeplace, a book about the resiliency of farmers who live near her home in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Professor of Art at Penn State University, Steven Rubin previously worked for more than twenty years as a freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer, traveling on assignment in Iraq, Rwanda, Kosovo, Pakistan, Thailand, Chile, Cuba, throughout Central America and across the United States. His photographs have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek and The Village Voice, and internationally in Stern, GEO, Focus, L’Express and The London Independent Magazine. His current projects investigate the rise of wind energy in the Midwest, the precarious conditions of Burmese Chin refugees in India and the upsurge of diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018 he published the book Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields with documentary poet Julia Kasdorf.
Workshop with Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Steven Rubin: Works of Witness
This workshop will introduce you to collaborative documentary practice, long a current in the American struggle for social and environmental justice. Documentary photographer Steven Rubin and poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf will lead you in the creation of your own documentary text and images. Open to writers and photographers at all levels of experience, but registration is limited, so please be sure to reserve your spot.
Beth Piatote: The Art of the Unsaid
Beth Piatote is a writer of fiction, poetry, essays, plays, and scholarly works. Her 2019 mixed-genre collection, The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint), was longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, and shortlisted for the California Independent Booksellers “Golden Poppy” Award for Fiction. Her play, Antíkoni, was selected for the 2020 Festival of New Plays by Native Voices at the Autry, and continues in development with new York Classical Theatre; her poems, stories, and essays appear in numerous journals and anthologies. She is Nez Perce, enrolled with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and a founding member of luk’upsíimey/North Star Collective, a group of Nez Perce writers and language activists. She an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Workshop with Beth Piatote: The Art of the Unsaid
Why script an argument when a scene of aggressive vacuuming may accomplish the same thing? In this workshop, we will experiment with various techniques to infuse gestures with emotions, to pace action, to create a character’s “tell,” and to otherwise make something out of nothing. Several in-class prompts will be offered, with time for each writer to share and receive feedback. This is a generative workshop for writers of poetry and prose.
(Full schedule coming soon)
All events held in the Church-Chapel unless otherwise marked.
All conference events are marked in bold. Several events are free and open to the public, as marked.
Break food and beverages are supplied by the conference
*All meals are on your own except for the Saturday night banquet, included in registration, and the sandwich buffet for the Critical Response panel on Sunday noon. Cafeteria tickets for all meals can be purchased in advance (recommended) or at the cashier. Numerous local restaurants offer a range of choices, but time is a consideration.
Thursday, Sept. 29
12 noon – 10 p.m., Registration in Church Chapel
1 – 5 pm, S.A. Yoder Memorial Writing Workshops
Casey Plett, others TBD
5 – 7 p.m., supper*
7 – 9 p.m., Plenary Session: Welcome & Keynotes (free and open to the public)
- Casey Plett Keynote
9 p.m., Reception – Music, informal poetry readings
Friday, Sept 30
8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Registration
8:30 – 9:45 a.m., Concurrent sessions
10 – 11 a.m., Plenary session: creative readings
10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Book sale
11 a.m., Refreshment break
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Concurrent sessions
1 – 2:30 p.m., Lunch*
2:30 – 4 p.m., Concurrent sessions
4 – 4:30 p.m., Refreshment break
4:30 – 5:30 p.m., Concurrent sessions
5:30 p.m., Supper*
7:30 p.m., Plenary: Cascadia poetry panel (free and open to the public)
9:00 p.m., Open mike, hosted by TBA
Saturday, Oct. 1
- Hildi Froese Tiessen: Reflections on 30 Years
- Tributes (4)
8:30 – 10 a.m., Three concurrent sessions
10 – 5:30 a.m., Book sale
10 – 10:30 a.m., Refreshment break
10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Plenary session: creative writing readings
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Lunch* , optional discussion groups
1 – 2:30 p.m., Two concurrent sessions
2:30 – 3 p.m., Refreshment break
3 – 4 p.m. Hymnal Exhibit – Adam Tice presentation in Gallery
6 p.m., Banquet and program (included with registration, separate tickets may be purchased for $25, as long as supply lasts)
7 p.m., After-dinner program
9 p.m. – Late Night Open Mic and Jam Session
Sunday, Oct. 2
9:15 a.m., Hymn singing at College Mennonite (pending confirmation)
9:30 a.m., Church service at College Mennonite (pending confirmation)
10:45 a.m., Plenary Session:
Connie Braun/Carol Ann Weaver performance
12:00 – Critical Response panel – Sandwich buffet provided