Inaugural Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers set for June 2011

January 13, 2011

The first-ever Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers—a five-day, creatively intense workshop for writers seeking to enhance their literary skills—will take place June 21-26, 2011, atop picturesque Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas. The application process for the Summit begins Jan. 15.

The Summit, a collaboration between The Oxford American magazine and Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, will offer participants the opportunity to improve their writing in a peaceful and stimulating environment.

“The inspiring mountaintop locale and substantive programming make the Summit ideal for writers who want to grow as artists, and is not simply for people who want to be published as is,” said Marc Smirnoff, editor of The Oxford American and one of the lead organizers of the Summit.

During the Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers, literary professionals will challenge participants to sharpen and deepen their writing skills through daily writing classes, lecture sessions, and manuscript critiques. Distinguished faculty and guest lecturers will teach a number of workshop sessions that focus equally on short fiction and creative nonfiction. Publishing experts will lead innovative programming designed to hone the skills that increase a writer’s chance of being noticed by editors.

The Oxford American also promises a fun and unique experience featuring great Southern food and music presented by talented chefs and performers. Participants can enjoy the spectacular setting, including nature trails and recreational facilities at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and nearby Petit Jean State Park.

Confirmed faculty members include Wells Tower (recently named by the New Yorker as among the 20 best fiction writers under 40); Kevin Brockmeier (one of Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelists and winner of the O. Henry Award); Pico Iyer (praised by Time as “among the finest travel writers of his generation”); as well as Tom Franklin, Cristina Henríquez, Scott Huler, and Jay Jennings. Detailed biographical information about each faculty member is available online at http://summit.oxfordamerican.org.

Applications for admission to the Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers will be accepted through May 1. The admissions committee will notify participants as they are selected, so it is possible that all available student slots will be filled before May 1. Those interested are encouraged to submit application materials as early as possible. Full application instructions and materials are available online at http://summit.oxfordamerican.org.

The tuition for the Summit is $1,000, and the room and board charges (including all meals) are $700 for single occupancy rooms and $550 for double occupancy rooms. Some partial and full scholarships are available, and every applicant will be considered for those scholarships.

About The Oxford American

The Oxford American is a national magazine dedicated to featuring the very best in Southern writing while documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South. Billed as “The Southern Magazine of Good Writing,” it has won two National Magazine Awards and other high honors since it began publication in 1992. The magazine has featured the original work of such literary powerhouses as Charles Portis, Roy Blount Jr., ZZ Packer, Donald Harington, Donna Tartt, Ernest J. Gaines, and many other distinguished authors, while also discovering and launching the most promising writers in the region.

The magazine has also published previously unseen work by such Southern masters as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy, James Agee, Zora Neale Hurston, James Dickey, Carson McCullers, to name a few.  The New York Times recently stated that The Oxford American “may be the liveliest literary magazine in America.” To learn more, visit the website at OxfordAmerican.org.

About Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of a statewide university system with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

The Rockefeller Institute offers a variety of workshops, seminars, public lectures, conferences and special events. Program areas include agriculture and environment, arts and humanities, economic development, and policy and public affairs. To learn more, visit the website at LiveTheLegacy.org.

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