Northwoods Writers Conference Public Reading Series Begins June 20

An award-winning lineup of authors from around the nation will read from their work at evening presentations during Bemidji State University’s Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, beginning June 20.

Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo

Poet Natalie Diaz opens the series, which will include poet Joy Harjo, the conference’s distinguished visiting writer; LeAnn Howe, multi-genre; Lorraine Lopez, fiction; Rebecca Brown, creative nonfiction; and Jericho Brown, poetry.

Each of the six authors are participating in the conference as teaching faculty. Faculty are selected for their success as writers and authors and for their ability as teachers. Conference teaching faculty has included National Education Association fellows and winners of significant honors such as the National Book Award.

All public readings begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gathering Room of Bemidji State’s American Indian Resource Center. Readings, which include a post-event reception and book signing, are free and open to the public.

Reading Schedule

About the Northwoods Writers Conference

The Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference brings writers together on the shores of beautiful Lake Bemidji with talented and renowned faculty from across the country. Participants spend their days during the week-long conference in workshops with faculty and fellow students for feedback and encouragement. Other conference activities include various literary events, opportunities to explore the Bemidji community and evening reading events.

The 2016 Distinguished Visiting Writer is Joy Harjo, an internationally known poet, writer, performer and saxophone player from the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She has published eight books of poetry and her many writing awards include the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Rasmuson United States Artist Fellowship and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Harjo is a professor of English and American Indian studies at the University of Illinois. She lives in Tulsa, Okla.

Harry joins a storied group of distinguished visiting writers that has included poet Sharon Olds, novelist Bret Lott and recently appointed U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Threthewey.

The Northwoods Writers Conference is funded in part by grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Region 2 Arts Council.


Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling nearly 5,000 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. University signature themes include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and global and multi-cultural understanding.