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The Northwestern Summer Writers' Conference

The Northwestern Summer Session is pleased to announce the tenth 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.

Writing Chicago: The Northwestern Summer Writers' Conference

July 31–August 2, 2014

Northwestern University

Wieboldt Hall
339 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Registration opens May 5, 2014.

Conference Events

Workshops: Addressing a variety of genres and topics in writing, students will have the opportunity to participate in two workshops a day. Students will engage in free writing exercises and focus on brainstorming and experimentation.

Faculty Panels: Faculty instructors and guest speakers will lead morning programs designed to lay the foundation for the rest of the day's activities. Speakers will read from their own works, discuss the writer's craft, and converse about the process of writing and publishing their work.

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.

2014 Special Keynote Speakers


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 WitnessParkett, The 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 33 years, Michele Weldon is an assistant professor of journalism at the Medill School of Northwestern University. An expert on issues related to media and women, she is a columnist for The Huffington Post and contributes frequently to The Chicago Tribune,, Christian Science MonitorAl Jazeera English, and She is a national trainer with The OpEd Project, and is director of the Public Voices fellowship at Northwestern University. She has also led the fellowships at Princeton and Stanford universities. Her critically acclaimed books include I Closed My Eyes, (Hazelden/ HCI, 1999), Writing to Save Your Life (Hazelden/HCI, 2001) and Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page (University of Missouri, 2008), which won the National Federation of Press Women nonfiction book award in 2009.


Megan Stielstra Megan 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.


Contact Us

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