Summer Reading? Annual Rutgers-Camden Conference Gets You Writing

Summer Reading? Annual Rutgers-Camden Conference Gets You Writing

CAMDEN – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and friends may have had the Left Bank in Paris to ignite their most famous works. For nearly a quarter of a century, local aspiring writers start their summers at Rutgers–Camden.

An intensive eight-day conference for credit, which has already closed for registration, boasts an impressive staff of New York Times bestselling authors and Pulitzer Prize Award-winners. But not just registered conference attendees benefit; a series of free public readings will jumpstart summer book plans and awaken any dormant muses.

Directed by novelist Lisa Zeidner, the 24th annual Rutgers–Camden Summer Writers’ Conference will feature free public readings at 1 p.m. Monday, June 21, through Tuesday, June 29. Select students attending the writers’ conference will read their works at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 30. All readings will take place in the Stedman Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Complex on Third Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden Campus.

Jewell Parker Rhodes
Jewell Parker Rhodes

On Monday, June 21, American Book Award-winner Jewell Parker Rhodes, author of five novels, including Voodoo Dreams, Magic City, and Douglass’ Women will read with Michelle Taransky, a Camden native whose first book, Barn Burned, Then, was selected by Marjorie Welish for the 2008 Omnidawn Poetry Prize.

On Tuesday, June 22, New York Times contributing writer Daniel Bergner, author of three books of nonfiction, including The Other Side of Desire, will read with former Philadelphia Inquirer editor Lisa Tracy, a Rutgers–Camden alumna and author of five books, including Muddy Waters: The Legacy of Katrina and Rita.  

On Wednesday, June 23, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn, the author of 15 collections of poetry, including the recent What Goes On: Selected and new Poems 1995-2009, will offer a reading. In 2001, Dunn received the Pulitzer Prize for his book Different Hours. A distinguished professor of creative writing at Richard Stockton College, Dunn’s collections include Between Angels, Loosestrife, and Local Visitations.

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn

On Thursday, June 24, novelist Jonathan Dee, author of five books, including The Liberty Campaign, Palladio, and most recently The Privileges will read with New York Times bestselling author David Shields, who has published 10 books including the latest Reality Hunger: A Manifest.

On Friday, June 25, Beth Kephart, the author of 11 books, including the National Book Award finalist A Slant of Sun as well as the critically acclaimed young adult novels Undercover, House of Dance, and Nothing But Ghosts, will read with University of Pennsylvania professor Max Apple, author of five books of fiction and nonfiction, including Free Agents, and most recently, the story collection The Jew of Home Depot.

On Monday, June 28, Lawnboy novelist Paul Lisicky, who also wrote the memoir Famous Builder  and the forthcoming novel The Burning House will read with esteemed poet Mark Doty, a professor of English at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Among Doty’s eight published collections of poems include Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. Doty is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K.

On Tuesday, June 29, novelist Mat Johnson, who is the author of a book of historical nonfiction, The Great Negro Plot, and the graphic novel Incognegro will read with poet Patrick Rosal, whose works include Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive, which won the members’ Choice Award from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and most recently My American Kundiman.

Information about Rutgers–Camden’s MFA program in creative writing is available at  For directions to Rutgers–Camden, visit


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