The University of North Texas’ annual The Mayborn Institute Writers Conference is right around the corner. By “around the corner,” I mean the weekend of July 14-16. What goes on at the conference? Notable writers, including local scribe Kurt Eichenwald, Hampton Sides, Ron Powers, and keynote speaker Gay Talese, talk about their craft. There should be plenty of good storytelling, as well as stories about the storytelling. More info after the jump.
DENTON (UNT), Texas ? Legendary author Gay Talese, considered one of the founders of “new journalism,” will deliver the keynote speech July 15 (Saturday) at the University of North Texas’ 2nd annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest in Grapevine.
A former New York Times reporter, Talese is the author of such nonfiction books as “Unto the Sons,” a historical memoir about his family; “The Kingdom and the Power,” about the history and influence of The New York Times; and “Honor Thy Father,” detailing the story behind a New York Mafia family.
“Talese, of course, is a giant in the world of literary nonfiction publishing,” said George Getschow, UNT writer-in-residence and a conference organizer. “Talese’s reputation, and what will one day be his legacy, is that he makes the ordinary extraordinary. He is first and foremost a consummate reporter, and accuracy, he will tell you, is his highest goal. But he is also an artist – the Michelangelo of literary journalism, someone who can weave fact and detail into a piece of poetry.”
The evening with Talese begins at 6 p.m. with a dinner and awards ceremony at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, followed by his lecture titled “The Origins of a Nonfiction Writer Who has Mastered the Art of Hanging Out.” After the lecture, Talese will give a short reading from his new book, “A Writer’s Life,” and answer questions from the audience. Along with other authors at the conference, Talese will sign books after the question-and-answer session.
“What’s inspiring to me about this renowned writer is that he started off his career in writing with very little promise,” Getschow said. “In his new book, ‘A Writer’s Life,’ scheduled for release in April, he says English was his worst subject, that he was rejected by two dozen colleges he applied to, and that his early writing was marked by an embarrassing flair for the florid and the verbose. Yet Talese somehow managed to become one of literary nonfiction’s finest. And that ought to give all of us hope.”
The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest from July 14-16 (Friday-Sunday) is open to aspiring and professional writers, educators, book lovers and members of the general public interested in exploring nonfiction storytelling.
Other guest authors and editors scheduled to speak at the conference include Hampton Sides, author of the nonfiction best-seller “Ghost Soldiers,” a book recently made into a major motion picture, “The Great Raid;” Melissa Fay Greene, author of “Praying for Sheetrock,” a National Book Award finalist; Ron Powers, author of “Mark Twain: A Life,” a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and “Flags of Our Fathers,” which has been developed as a movie by Steven Spielberg with Clint Eastwood directing; H.W. Brands, whose book “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography; and Kurt Eichenwald, a senior writer for The New York Times and author of “Conspiracy of Fools,” a bestseller about the Enron scandal. Eichenwald’s previous book, “The Informant,” is in development as a major motion picture directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Conference organizers are also accepting submissions of literary nonfiction articles and essays and manuscripts for the annual conference writing contest. The top 50 article and essay writers and the top 20 manuscript authors will be invited to participate in a daylong workshop July 14. Writers of the best three articles and essays will win cash prizes of up to $3,000, while the top manuscript writer will earn a provisional publishing contract with UNT Press. Deadline for contest submissions is June 1.
The best articles and essays will be published in “Spurs of Inspiration,” a literary nonfiction journal published by Hearst Newspapers and the Mayborn Institute and will be reviewed for possible publication in The Dallas Morning News and San Antonio Express-News. To read last year’s stories published in The Dallas Morning News, visit www.dallasnews.com/mayborn.
For those not registered for the conference, tickets to Talese’s speech are $100 per person, which includes the cost of the meal. A table for 10 may be purchased for $1,000.
The early registration cost of the conference is $250 before March 15, and $275 after that date. Educators pay $200 before March 15 and $225 afterward. Students pay $130 before March 15 and $150 afterward. The conference price includes all lectures, panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions, readings, keynote address and meals.
To register for the conference or buy tickets to Talese’s speech, visit mayborninstitute.unt.edu. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call (940) 565-4564.