Now in its 35th year, the Southampton Writers Conference, sponsored by the Stony Brook Southampton MFA Program in Writing and Literature, runs from July 14 through July 25. The keynote speaker this summer is Lorrie Moore, whose most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner award. Moore’s work, which includes the short story collection Birds of America, is known for its poignancy and mordant wit.
In addition, Elizabeth Strout, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Olive Kittredge, and Colson Whitehead (Sag Harbor) will be joining the summer faculty. This summer’s distinguished faculty also features Roger Rosenblatt (Making Toast); Melissa Bank (The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fish); Peter Hedges (novelist: The Heights; director/screenwriter: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape); poet Thomas Lux (God Particles); Kaylie Jones (Lies My Mother Never Told Me); and former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.
“We really seem to have crossed a threshold in terms of national prominence,” said Robert Reeves, Director of Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA Program in Writing and Literature. “We continue to enjoy the high regard of distinguished writers around the country, but even more important, of course, is that we continue to attract so many talented aspiring writers.”
Session I also features the ten-day Southampton Playwriting Conference. MacArthur award-winning monologist Mike Daisey will lead a workshop on monologue and performance. Also scheduled to teach at the Conference this year is director/playwright Emily Mann.
Session II (July 28 to August 1) offers a second Playwriting Conference, the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference, and the Southampton Screenwriting Conference. Jules Feiffer, esteemed faculty member, artist, playwright, and screenwriter, opens the remarkable series with a keynote address.
Workshop leaders for Session II’s Southampton Playwriting Conference will feature Marsha Norman (Wicked), who won the Pulitzer Prize for ‘Night Mother; playwright Annie Baker, whose Circle, Mirror, Transformation played to sold-out houses and rave reviews at New York’s Playwrights Horizons; playwright/actor Leslie Ayvazian (Make Me), whose play, Nine Armenians, premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club and won the John Gassner Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, and the Kennedy Center’s Roger L. Stevens Award. The Playwriting Conferences are co-directed by Emma Walton Hamilton and her husband, producer/actor Stephen Hamilton.
During both sessions of the Southampton Playwriting Conference, actors and directors from New York’s esteemed Ensemble Studio Theatre will be in residence and will be doing readings of plays.