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76th Writers Conference at Ocean Park

The Writers Conference was founded by Adelbert M. Jakeman, Sr. of Westfield, Massachusetts and Loring Eugene Williams of Cleveland, Ohio. Jakeman was at one time head of the English department at Westfield High School and was Assembly Superintendent at Ocean Park for 31 years. Read more of Dr. Jim Brosnan's history of the Writers Conference here.

The Conference began in 1941 to provide, "an informal meeting place of inspiration and instruction for all persons interested in the writing arts, whether prose or poetry, whether or not they themselves are writers." This statement, written by The Conference's co-founder, Del Jakeman, Sr., continues to set the tone of The Conference today. Come to the Writers' Conference and find recognition, enthusiastic response, and kind encouragement to be the very best writer you can be.

This year the conference is August 8-12 and will take place in Porter Hall. For a registration form contact Jim Brosnan, P.O. Box 172, Assonet, MA, 02702, telephone 401-598-1424; or email

August 8: 4:00pm Opening Session
August 9: 8:00am – 8:00pm
August 10: 8:30am – 8:00pm
August 11: 8:30am – 8:00pm
August 12: 8:00am – 1:00pm Conclusion

Workshops begin on Tuesday morning and continue through Friday morning. Workshops in different genres are held in the morning and afternoon by established writers. This intimate conference creates a community of writers who encourage and nurture one another. Participants who come from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and geographic locations attend all of the sessions as part of a week-long commitment to the craft of writing.

On Thursday conference participants engage in a Beach Inspirational Poetry session at 7:30 am at the beach followed by coffee and refreshments at the Ocean Park Library. There are also two open-mic opportunities for conference participants. Material must be connected to newsletter prompts or workshop assignments.



Details 2016 conference presenters will appear here as they are added to the Conference.

Image: Erin MoultonErin Moulton
Keynote speaker for the Opening Session is Erin E. Moulton, the author of Flutter (Philomel/Penguin, 2011), Tracing Stars (Philomel/Penguin, 2012), Chasing the Milky Way (Philomel/Penguin, 2014), and Keepers of the Labyrinth (Philomel/Penguin, 2015). She is also editor of the forthcoming anthology Things We Haven't Said (Zest/Quirk Books, 2017). Her books have been selected and nominated for national and state award lists, such as the Amelia Bloomer list, the Kentucky Bluegrass Master List and the Isinglass Teen Read Award List. Flutter was also a 2011 Kid's Indie Next pick. When Erin isn't writing books she can be found drinking an excessive amount of Barry's Tea, scribbling in notebooks, carving pumpkins, staring off into space wearing her noise cancelling headphones and trying to stay out of mischief without always succeeding. She also works as teen librarian at the Derry Public Library where she maintains a collection of awesome YA books and leads teen programming. Erin loves fostering new voices, which makes her an active school visitor, mentor and workshop leader to writers of all ages. She is a proud VCFA alum, as well as a teen advocate, a humanist, a feminist, and a would-be philanthropist if she could find any extra dollars. You can find her online at



Image: KestenbaumStuart Kestenbaum is the author of four collections of poems, Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press), House of Thanksgiving, Prayers and Run-on Sentences, and Only Now (all Deerbrook Editions), and a collection of essays The View From Here (Brynmorgen Press). The director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts from 1988 until 2015, he has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines including Tikkun, the Sun, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has written "Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love." He was appointed Maine's poet laureate in 2016.


Image: BlakemoreMegan Frazer Blakemore is an author for children and young adults. Her middle grade novels include The Firefly Code (Bloomsbury, 2016), The Friendship Riddle (Bloomsbury, 2015), The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill (Bloomsbury, 2014), and The Water Castle (Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013), the latter of which was named Kirkus Best Children's Book of 2013, a Bank Street College Best Book 2014, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and has been included on numerous state lists. The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill received the Maine Literary Award in 2015 in the Young People's Literature category. Her books for young adults are Secrets of Truth & Beauty (Disney-Hyperion, 2009) and Very in Pieces (HarperTeen, 2015), which has been named a Junior Library Guild selection. A school librarian, Megan has a B.A. from Columbia University, and an MLS from Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She has taught writing to students in elementary through graduate school. She lives in Maine with her family.


Image: Jennifer DupreeJen Dupree is a writer, librarian, and former bookstore owner. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast and her work has appeared in Front Porch Review, The Masters Review, On the Rusk and other places. Find her at





Image: Ryan FlahertyRyan Flaherty
Ryan Flaherty's writing and teaching interests span poetry, nonfiction, and the hybrid edges between the genres. His first book of poems, What's This, Bombardier?, won the Lena Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series from Pleiades Press. He also has two letterpress chapbooks: "Novas" from Bateau Press and "Live", from the Delay from Small Fires Press. In 2010, he received the PEN/New England Discovery Award as a top emerging poet. Recent and forthcoming poems can be found in Boston Review, Verse Daily, Gettysburg Review, The New Republic, Denver Quarterly, and Gulf Coast. Essays can be found in Conjunctions, Columbia Journal, and The Winter Anthology. Find him at



Image: GrumblingMegan Grumbling writes poetry, criticism and essays, and dramatic works, and serves as an editor, teacher, and writing mentor. Her collection Booker's Point, awarded the Vassar Miller Prize for Poetry, is forthcoming from the University of North Texas Press in 2016. Her work has been awarded the Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly Fellowship, the Robert Frost Award from the Robert Frost Foundation, a Hawthornden Fellowship at Hawthornden Castle, Scotland, and a St. Boltoph Emerging Artist Award, and has been included in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, and Verse Daily. Megan serves as Reviews Editor for The Café Review, a poetry and arts journal, and has since 2004 written weekly theater criticism for the Portland Phoenix. She teaches at the University of New England and Southern Maine Community College, frequently leads writing workshops and tutorials, and delivers manuscript consultations and editing work to a range of authors. She earned a Master's Degree in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from New York University's School of Journalism, and studied oral history, ethnography, and American Studies as an undergraduate at The Evergreen State College.

Image: SullwoldFor three decades Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's music and visual arts reviews and features appeared regularly in Opera News, Gramophone, Opéra International, Opera, Music Magazine, Beaux Arts, and The Crisis, and her byline has headed numerous program essays and record liner notes. Among her non-fiction works, the best known is We Need A Hero! Heldentenors from Wagner's Time to the Present: A Critical History. Working for eleven years as baritone Thomas Hampson's personal assistant, she collaborated with him on his song research, recital planning, and helped to create several media projects, serving as associate producer and content consultant/writer, among them I Hear America Singing for WNET/PBS and Voices of the Heart: Stephen Foster for German television. She continues to work as a journalist and critic, specializing in opera, classical music and theatre, serving as senior writer for Scene4 Magazine, Maine regional editor for Broadway World, and a contributor to Fanfare Magazine. She has also published four fictional works, the most recent two collections of short stories, Bookends and Carousel, and a novel and screenplay, Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story, which won the 2011 Grand Prize at the Rhode Island Film Festival, as well as another novel The Whaler's Bride.

Image: WilliamsAnn Joslin Williams is the author of the novel Down From Cascom Mountain (Bloomsbury, USA, 2011), and the short story collection, The Woman in the Woods which won the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. She's the recipient of an NEA Grant and the winner of the New Hampshire Writers Project Award for Outstanding Book of Fiction, 2011. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines including: Ploughshares, the Missouri Review, the Iowa Review, Story Quarterly, Arts and Letters, and elsewhere. She is director of the MFA Program in Writing and an Associate Professor at the University of New Hampshire.

The following are PDF documents. Forms can be filled out in your browser and then printed and mailed or you may print them and fill out by hand before mailing.

Thank you for your Interest
2016 Registration
Daily Schedule
2016 1st Conference Newsletter ~ 2nd Conference Newsletter ~ Contest Guidelines~ Prose Entry ~ Poetry Entry

Summer Season 2016