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Sanibel Writers Conference to feature many big literary names

By Staff | Oct 21, 2011

Big literary names such as Henry Rollins, John Sayles, Dan Bern and John K. Samson will be headlining the Sanibel Island Writers Conference scheduled to take place Nov. 3-6 at BIG Arts and the Sanibel Public Library.

“I have been to one conference,” said acclaimed singer-songwriter Dan Bern. “I loved it so much I am returning to Sanibel.”

On Nov. 3, Bern and Samson will perform solo concerts at 6 p.m. in Schein Hall at BIG Arts, 900 Dunlop Road. Bern has released more than a dozen albums including the critically acclaimed “Fifty Eggs,” “New American Language,” and the children’s album “2 Feet Tall.” His songwriting skills were used in the films “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” and “Get Him To The Greek.”

“I’ve been a musician my whole life,” said Bern. “I started taking it seriously around the age of 15 or 16 and went to a million open mic nights to get started. For six months, I went to one every night until someone was willing to give me an actual spot.”

Samson is the singer and songwriter for The Weakerthans, an acclaimed Canadian rock band that has released five CD’s including the award-winning “Reconstruction Site” in 2004 and “Reunion Tour” in 2008. Samson’s poetry and prose have appeared in Matrix Magazine, Geist, The Believer and Post-Prairie an Anthology of New Poetry.

He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he is also the managing editor and co-founder of a small publishing house, ARP (Arbeiter Ring Publishing).

Veteran filmmaker and novelist Sayles will deliver the keynote address on Nov. 5. Sayle’s most recent novel is the critically acclaimed “A Moment in the Sun.” The address will begin at 6 p.m. in Schein Hall and is open to the public once all registered conference attendees have been seated. Steve Almond, author of “Candy Freak” and “God Bless America,” will open.

Rollins brings “An Evening of Storytelling” to the conference at 5 p.m. Nov. 4 in Schein Hall. Registered conference attendees and Florida Gulf Coast University students gain immediate admission. Rollins hosts a weekly radio show on NPR affiliated KCRW, is a regular contributor to VanityFair.com with his “Straight Talk Espresso” blog and recently joined forces with National Geographic as host of a series of television specials.

In addition to the artists mentioned, the conference will offer workshops, presentation panels and readings from the following authors, editors and literary agents:

Lynne Barrett (fiction/editor), Nickole Brown (poetry/editor/publisher), Kevin Canty (fiction), Ron Currie Jr. (fiction), John Dufresne (fiction), Carmen Edington (editor), William Giraldi (fiction/editor), Barbara Hamby (poetry), John Hoppenthaler (poetry), Christopher Joyce (NPR-writing for radio), David Kirby (poetry), Christopher Phillips (Socrates Caf). Robert Root (creative non-fiction/editor), Christopher Schelling (literary agent), Laurel Snyder (YA lit), Darin Strauss (memoir), Jay Wexler (creative non-fiction), Thomas Williams (novella/editor), and Tom Zoeller (investigative journalism).

“There will be a lot of great writers giving readings and talks,” said Bern. “That is why I’m returning. It’s a cool place to mingle and learn.”

For a complete conference schedule or to register, visit HYPERLINK www.fgcu.edu/siwcwww.fgcu.edu/siwc. Contact Tom DeMarchi at HYPERLINK mailto:tdemarch@fgcu.edutdemarch@fgcu.edu or call 239-590-7421 for additional information.