From the Director, Matthew Leone
Welcome to our site, and ideally, to our Conference. Allow me a brief update of the last year or so of Conference news. While the Princeton Review has named Colgate the “most beautiful” campus in the nation, at least as beautiful have been the recent creative accomplishments of our faculty and alums. Bruce Smith's Devotions has been chosen one of the National Book Award's top five books of poetry. Justin Cronin's worldwide best seller, The Passage, now has its sequel, The Twelve. It too will have worldwide distribution and its eventual film production. Similarly, Jennifer Smith has had her most recent novel optioned for film, and for vast distribution by twenty-four publishers in twenty-seven languages: let's hope each translation captures the novelty of its title in English: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And Jennifer Vanderbes' Strangers at the Feast was selected by Oprah and her reading groups.
Daily Doings, Workshops
We’re particularly proud of the increasing number of Conference alums who return, as well as those who stay in touch with us--and with each other--and who continue to partake of the essential creative efforts by which we live more fully. We like to think that the quality of the Colgate Conference experience itself has something to do with the continued success and loyalty of our alums. The accessibility of the senior instructors--an accessibility that makes personal guidance the daily norm and not the exception--causes superb and encouraging instruction to occur. The intimate nature of the workshops, each having ten or fewer participants (and the intensive novel and memoir workshops having five or fewer), with each member remaining in a designated workshop for the entire week, encourages the sort of dialogue that brings out the best in all of us. Consultation and conversation are at the core of what we do: readings, workshops, meals, evening socializing at the Faculty Club, are all vital, happily productive conversational and creative opportunities. Why does our conference work so well in this regard? Because we keep things small. We are able to do so because Colgate University supports us generously. Do other conferences match our ratio of participants to senior writers? That is for you to investigate. Our ratios are enviable because we have the support of a university committed to creative writing.
The entire university is at your disposal. Its air-conditioned libraries and study areas; its ample athletics facilities, ones that include an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a retractable roof; tennis courts; a fitness center; miles of wooded paths for running or walking; a boathouse; an 18-hole championship golf course; computer facilities and wireless access throughout campus; all the resources of a major university are ours. Oh, and perhaps I might also mention that most of us make good use of the Faculty Club for socializing each evening.
That our Founder and now departed Frederick Busch has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters speaks to our pedigree, and more, to the sorts of standards to which we hold ourselves. Our conference should be without parallel. We believe that it is. Your presence may help to make it more so. New participants should know that you are warmly welcome, and that there will be time to write, to talk, to create and to re-create. For all, the week will be highly productive, and far too short.