ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Writers & Books, Rochester’s home for the literary arts, will host the virtual literary conference “Taking Care in Writing, Publishing & Building Community” from January 21-23.

Kwame Dawes, author of over 20 books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and essays, and Glenna Luschei
Editor of “Prairie Schooner,” will deliver the keynote on Literary Citizenship.

Writers & Books Executive Director Alison Meyers discussed the online event Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

“Our team has put together a really rich program that will appeal to writers particularly but also interested readers who are interested to know what’s going on in the contemporary literary world,” Meyers said. “Our team also included Sejal Shah, an author, who joined us in curating an entire day of panels on Sunday focused on Disability Visibility. We were really compelled to be as thoughtful as possible when we put this program together thinking very much about the COVID environment and the challenges of isolation so many people have endured over the many months. So really it’s through that lens that we have many themes that are intended to help us build compassion, also share the joys and beauty of language that can elevate us out of our immediate circumstances into an imaginative and creative world and connect us to other people.”

Literary citizenship is a central theme of the conference. “I think the idea is how can we stretch ourselves, expand our horizons, and think of ways to connect with other people, other ideas, other cultures, and other experiences through the medium of literature,” explained Meyers. “Books are just singularly adaptive in that way. So we’re asking our writers to think so much about their content as well as their craft.”

Conference participants will access 25 panels, readings, and one-on-one consultations with 65
authors, poets, and publishing industry experts. “We have some really wonderful how-to sessions and some pitch sessions with literary agents, some of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of navigating the publishing world coming from people who have been there themselves – either authors or people who are professionals in the publishing industry,” noted Meyers. “We’ve made sure to include small presses and university presses. It’s a very big world beyond just the big five and we want to make sure that our aspiring writers are aware of all of the opportunities.”

Tickets for the virtual literary conference are $195 – $225. Need-based scholarships are available. Meyers said, “We want to make sure anybody who wishes to attend can do so.”

Get your tickets and more information online at wab.org.