Writing in Times of Crisis
June 20-23, 2018

The 2018 Chautauqua Writers’ Festival will take place over the four days (Wed-Sat) before Chautauqua Institution's summer season commences. Explorations registration, which grants access to all non-workshop festival programming, is available through June 20 at writersfestival.chq.org!

In addition to the Festival’s tradition of intensive workshops and one-on-one conferences with award-winning contemporary authors, writers may also explore the craft of writing in the context of urgent social questions through panel conversations, breakout sessions, and a keynote address. The 2018 theme for this slate of new options is “Writing in Times of Crisis,” which will draw connections between the personal, the political, and the craft of writing. All of these new features are optional to workshop participants and included in the cost of Workshop Registration.

Additionally, the new Explorations Registration option will make it possible for anyone to pay a reduced rate to attend everything other than workshops, fostering an even more vibrant, dynamic convening of writers from near and far. Explorations Registration is available through June 20 and at the door. Multiple new university and non-profit partners will facilitate this growth, including the Academy of American PoetsCatapult, Just BuffaloVIDA and Wick Poetry Center.

Keynote & Panels


For the first time, on June 20 at 1pm in the Athenaeum Hotel, the Writers’ Festival will feature a keynote address. This year’s keynote speaker, highlighting the theme of Writing in Times of Crisis, will be Kiese Laymon.


kiese laymon

Kiese Laymon is the author of the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and the novel Long Division, named one of the Best of 2013 by The Believer, Buzzfeed, Library Journal, the Crunk Feminist Collective, and others. A memoir called Heavy arrives in September 2018, and a novel called And So On is also forthcoming, both from Scribner. Laymon has written essays, stories, and reviews for numerous publications including EsquireThe New York Times, NPR, The GuardianEbony, and Guernica, and he is a contributing editor of Oxford American. Laymon is currently a Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa.


Panels & Breakout Sessions 

Thursday through Saturday of the Festival, writers, scholars, editors, and educators will convene to illuminate a craft-based approach to considering these topics at 1pm on the second floor of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall:

  • Poetry & The Body: Meg Day, Nicole Homer, Susannah Nevison, Mathias Svalina (June 21)
  • Writing Memoir in an Age of Alternative Facts: Linda Lowen, Mike Scalise, James Tobin (June 22)
  • Teaching Writing in Times of Crisis: Bob Cowser, Devin Donovan, Kate Glavin, Jimin Han, Maria Maldonado, Jillian Powers, Kenyatta Rogers, Alexandra Soiseth (June 23)

All panelists and breakout session leaders receive discounted hotel options and complimentary Explorations registration, granting access to all Writers' Festival programs except for workshops, where space is limited. All proposals will receive a response by April 30, 2018.

Submit here


Questions? Email the festival’s director Dr. Lillian-Yvonne Bertram at writersfestival@chq.org or the Director of Literary Arts Mx. Atom Atkinson at aatkinson@chq.org.