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. In the past, every fifth year, the conference has overlapped with the Program’s Anniversary celebrations. Thanks to the initiative of volunteer coordinators, the Conference has moved around the country so that alumni from all over the US could more easily attend. FOW offers five scholarships to those who could otherwise not attend the conference.

The Alumni Conference is a peer-led event that continues the experience and community created in the Program, with alumni coming from the earliest days at Goddard to the most recent graduating class. While there are classes, caucuses, panels, workshops and groups designed to work on manuscript-length pieces, 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 social gatherings, is the evening reading series, providing some of the best writing out there, and certainly the best audience.

“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.”