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Friday, May 5 • 9:00am - 10:15am
Welcoming Convocation & Opening Keynote
Limited Capacity seats available

The entire conference gathers in the Georgian Ballroom for a welcome from the conference director followed by an interactive discussion on the conference theme, "What's a Writer For?" led by John Freeman and featuring Aleksandar Hemon. Exploring the question of the writers' role in society, we will address questions including: Is it enough for writers to “entertain?” Should entertainment even be our goal? How political should a writer be? Is everything we write political anyway? Do we have a particular responsibility to the audience that aligns with our cultural background? How can examining our purpose and individual mission open up possibilities for our fiction and/or nonfiction that we have yet to consider? 

avatar for Chris Castellani

Chris Castellani

chris@grubstreet.org, Artistic Director
Christopher Castellani is the artistic director of Grub Street and the author of three novels: All This Talk of Love (2013), a New York Times Editors’ Choice and finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award; The Saint of Lost Things (2005); and A Kiss From Maddalena (2003), winner of the Massachusetts Book Award. In addition to his work at Grub Street, Christopher teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and at the Bread Loaf... Read More →
avatar for John Freeman

John Freeman

Founder and Editor, Freeman's
John Freeman is an award-winning writer and book critic who has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. Freeman won the 2007 James Patterson Pageturner Award for his work as the president of the National Book Critics Circle and has also been the editor... Read More →
avatar for Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, and The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for several months. While there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a... Read More →
avatar for Claire Messud

Claire Messud

Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children, was a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady, and her book of novellas, The Hunters, were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and her second novel, The Last... Read More →

Friday May 5, 2017 9:00am - 10:15am
Grand Ballroom

Attendees (435)