Skip navigation

UND Writers Conference Community Discussion Series

2019 UND Writers Conference Community Discussion Series 



Art by Patrick Martinez Heartland by Sarah Smarsh Heavy by Kiese Laymon
Poetry by Sally Wen Mao Tommy Orange's There There Selected poems by Heid E. Erich

About the UND Writers Conference Community Discussion Series (formerly UND Writers Conference 101):

This spring, the UND Writers Conference celebrates its 49th anniversary. In 1970, the late John Little, a professor in UND’s English Department, was missing some of his literary friends from the South. He decided to invite them to share their words here in North Dakota, and thus a rich artistic tradition began. Since that first conference, some of the most laudable names in literature have visited the UND campus, including Allen Ginsberg, Truman Capote, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Louise Erdrich, Roxane Gay, Sherman Alexie, Sir Salman Rushdie, Alice Walker, as well as a number of this year's participants. Full listing of past authors

Around 2000 lovers of literature from all over North Dakota, as well as beyond our borders descend on the campus to listen to panel discussions, readings, and ask their questions of nationally and internationally prominent authors.

The UND Writers Conference Community Discussion Series is not a UND course. It is free and open to all! Attend one or attend them all, it's up to you! In fact, the UND Writers Conference Community Discussion Series is designed to get you acquainted with some of the authors whom you might not know. Even the most voracious reader may not be familiar with the work of some of these award-winning writers. In fact, conference planners frequently receive praise for introducing readers to writing that challenges and inspires. But, wouldn’t it be nice to be acquainted with the work before the author arrives?

Come discuss the writers who will be attending the 50th Annual UND Writers Conference, March 20-22, 2019.

Each session will begin with a brief overview of the author, followed by questions and discussion of the book title. Even if you haven’t had a chance to read the book selection yet, organizers encourage everyone to stop by for the discussion (and handouts are occasionally provided).

All discussions are on Sundays, 2-3:00 pm at the Grand Forks Public Library (conference room, unless otherwise noted) and are free and open to the public.


January 27: Presentation on the art of Patrick Martinez led by Nicole Derenne

February 3: Discussion of Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country in the World led by Andy Harnish

February 10: Discussion of Heavy by Kiese Laymon led by Haley Hamilton

February 17: Discussion of the poetry of Sally Wen Mao led by Patrick Henry

February 24: Discussion of There There by Tommy Orange led by Crystal Alberts

March 3: Discussion of Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media by Heid E. Erdrich led by Kai Cheang

Books for the 2019 Writers Conference will be on sale at the UND Bookstore and Ferguson Books and Media

Some or all may also be available for check out at local libraries, including Grand Forks Public, East Grand Forks Campbell Library, and UND's Chester Fritz Library (community members may use the Chester Fritz Library and can obtain a library card)!


Crystal Alberts
Director, UND Writers Conference