The Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference

WritersConf_2014webThe Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference

The Northwestern University Summer Session is pleased to announce the 10th annual Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference, a three-day summer institute dedicated to the creation and revision of novels, short-stories, nonfiction and poetry. The program is tailored to writers of all genres, backgrounds, and levels of experience, and welcomes anyone seeking a fuller understanding of the craft — and business — of writing. Participants may choose from a diverse array of panels and workshops, all designed to give participants valuable perspectives on their work in the supportive company of other writers.



Conference Events

Craft/Business Talks and Workshops: Addressing a variety of genres and topics in writing, students will have the opportunity to participate in one craft or business talk and one workshop each day. Students will engage in free writing exercises and focus on brainstorming and experimentation.

Keynote Address: Three acclaimed Chicago writers will read from their own works, discuss the writer’s craft, and converse about the process of writing and publishing their work.

Faculty Panels: Writing professionals and enthusiasts come together to discuss topics of interest to writers of all levels and genres.

Manuscript Consultations: For an additional fee of $125, conference participants may meet individually with an instructor or panelist to discuss work sent in advance. Submitted work must be no more than 15 pages (double spaced, 12 point font). When you register, please indicate your preference from the list of instructors and panelists. In some instances, a faculty member may not be available. We will do our best to accommodate your first choice.

Community: Join writers in a supportive community to share work and ideas with others who understand the passion for writing. Participants will receive constructive critique and encouragement from faculty and peers. This conference will help students gain inspiration, build confidence, and provide many networking opportunities.



Chris Abani

Chris Abani

Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. His most recent novel is The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014). He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Through his TED Talks, public speaking and essays Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as WitnessParkettThe New York TimesO Magazine, and Bomb. Born in Nigeria, he is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago. More at


Michele WeldonMichele Weldon

An award-winning journalist and author for more than three decades, Michele Weldon is an assistant professor emerita in service at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she has taught since 1996. She is the director of the Medill Public Thought Leaders initiative; director of the Northwestern Public Voices Fellowship for the OpEd Project and recently co-director of TEDX NorthwesternU 2104.

Her first book, I Closed My Eyes (Hazelden/ HCI, 1999),was translated into seven languages and was re-released in 2012 as a new edition. Writing to Save Your Life (Hazelden/HCI, 2001), has been translated into four languages, was re-released in 2012 with a new edition, and has been the basis of her Writing to Save Your Life Workshops over the last 10 years. Her third book, “Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page” (University of Missouri, 2008), won the National Federation of Press Women nonfiction book award in 2009. She has an ebook coming out through SheBooks this summer, “Just me And My Three Sons.”

Weldon has written chapters in This I Believe on Fatherhood (Wiley, 2011), Encyclopedia of 21stCentury Media (Sage, 2009) and Conversations with Joyce Carol Oates (University Press of Mississippi, 1989). She has written columns, news and features for newspapers, websites, magazines and radio such asNew York Times, Al Jazeera, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Dallas Times Herald, Dial, Huffington Post, Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Medium,, Newsday, Nieman Narrative Digest, Pacific Standard Magazine, Parenting, Quartz, Seventeen, Slate, U.S. Catholic, Writer’s Digest, West Suburban Living, womensenews, Woman’s Day and hundreds more.

She narrates lessons for TED Ed and competed in the Moth Story Chicago GrandSlam in 2012. A popular public speaker, Weldon has delivered close to 200 keynotes across the country. She has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television shows in the United States, Europe and Canada including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” NPR, NBC, ABC, CNN, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post Live, CBS and BBC. She is a member of the advisory board for Life Matters Media, Friends of Battered Women and Global Girl Media; and a former member of the board of directors of Journalism & Women Symposium.


Megan StielstraMegan Stielstra

Megan Stielstra is the author of the story collection Everyone Remain Calm, a Chicago Tribune Favorite of 2011. Her personal essay collection, Once I Was Cool, is forthcoming in May of 2014. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including The Best American Essays 2013, The Rumpus, PANK, Other Voices, f Magazine, Make Magazine, Pindeldyboz and Swink. She serves as the Literary Director of the critically-acclaimed 2nd Story storytelling series and has told stories for theaters and festivals around the country including the Goodman, Steppenwolf, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Neo-Futurarium, and regularly for The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. Currently, she teaches writing and performance at Columbia College Chicago and is the Associate Director of The Center For Innovation in Teaching Excellence. She is also faculty in creative nonfiction at Northwestern University, a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Chicago, and a 3Arts Teaching Artist Award Finalist for her work with 2nd Story, helping people of all ages get their stories on the page.


Get Involved

Office of Summer Session and Special Programs
Summer Writers’ Conference
405 Church Street
Evanston, Illinois 60208-4220
phone: 847-491-3458


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *