The Alumni Conferences
Each year, under the sponsorship of Friends of Writers, Inc., a weeklong writing conference is held exclusively for the graduates of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Every fifth year the conference is held in Swannanoa to overlap with the Program’s Anniversary celebrations; other years it has moved around the country thanks to the initiative of volunteer coordinators. For information on the next conference, click here: THE 2017 CONFERENCE.
The conference is a peer-led event meant to continue the experience and community created in the Program, with alumni coming from the earliest days at Goddard to the most recent graduating class. There are classes, caucuses, and panels, along with workshops and groups designed to work on manuscript-length pieces, but there are no expectations or requirements, and many attendees use the time as a writing retreat. A focal point, aside from the meals together and gatherings in the dorm, is the evening reading series, providing some of the best writing out there, and certainly the best audience. As alum, poet, and editor Ross White said:
“Nowhere is the spirit of what the program means to working writers more evident than at the annual alumni conference. I remember being stunned to learn that, upon graduation, alums gather and hold a residency, complete with classes, lectures, panels, readings, and yes, even the dance. Whereas most MFA programs send graduates into the world without so much as a walking stick, we get a yearly opportunity to revisit what made our MFA program amazing.”