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Judy Blume, Clarissa Ward and Others Headline 30th Sun Valley Writers Conference
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Thursday, January 18, 2024
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Judy Blume, who was one of the first children’s authors to tackle such subjects as death, divorce and puberty, will be among the presenters at the 2024 Sun Valley Writer’s Conference July 20-22.

Blume, whose young adult novels include the bestseller “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” and “Tiger Eyes,” will discuss her career writing books that shaped the hearts and minds of generations of girls, and some boys. She was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2023.

She will be joined by Erik Larson, who will discuss the dramatic five months between Lincoln’s election and the start of the Civil War, as chronicled in his new book “The Demon of Unrest.” CNN’s Clarissa Ward will offer an intimate portrait of life on the frontlines of Gaza, Ukraine ad other war zones.

Jonathan Eig will talk about the life of Martin Luther king Jr., which he wrote about in the just-published “King: A Life,” and Indian-American “Taste the Nation” TV host Padma Lakshmi and “My Kitchen Year” author Ruth Reichl will trade stories from a life spent tasting, eating and writing about food, glorious food.

And Maggie O’Farrell (“The Marriage Portrait” set in Renaissance Italy) Kristin Hannah (The Women” set during the Vietnam War) and Ayana Mathis (“The Unsettled” set in the racially politically turbulent 1980s) will discuss the historical originals of their acclaimed historical novels.

Others presenters include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Jeffrey Brown, Vinson Cunningham, Andrea Elliott, Drew Gilpin Faust, Niall Ferguson, Jeffrey Goldberg, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Anne Lamott, Dennis Lehane, Tiya Miles, David Miliband, Paul Muldoon, Tommy Orange, Evan Osnos, Pamela Paul, Jeffrey Rosen, James Shapiro and John Vaillant.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the conference, and organizers believe it’s one of the most extraordinary groups of writers the conference has ever brought together.

“Our goal has always been to put on the most interesting and inspiring literary event that we can all imagine together,” said John Burnham Schwartz, the conference’s literary director. “What our success and longevity has allowed us to do is to continue to add breadth and depth to our programming every single year. We couldn’t be more grateful to our fantastic audience and to our donors for supporting these efforts, and we are already looking forward to the next 30 years!”

“If I had to choose a phrase to describe our unique gathering, I would say that beyond a doubt, it is simply richly rewarding,” added Robin Eidsmo, the conference’s executive director. “Our programs, typically curated more than a year in advance, are designed to stimulate both the head and the heart and to give the writers and the attendees a welcome time for reflection, laughter, and respite.”

The 1,500 passes will go on sale 10 a.m. Mountain Time Feb. 22 at https://svwc.com/attend. There are two pass types—a Full Conference Pass for $1,100 and a Next Generation Pass for $550 for those 35 and under.

Passholders gain access to small breakout sessions with authors, as well as Pavilion talks. And they enjoy lavish breakfasts and barbecues served up by Sun Valley Resort.

They are expected to sell out quickly—possibly within minutes.

The Writers’ Conference also offers a variety of free community events, such as allowing community member to attend some Pavilion talks via the big screen on the Pavilion lawn. And it partners with Ketchum’s Community Library to offer a few author talks each summer.

Local educators, students and librarians are invited to take advantage of Pavilion talks in the Pavilion as room allows.

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