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Sun Valley Writers’ Conference Expands Speaker Series, Offers New Passes
Patrick Radden Keefe presented a riveting look in 2021 at Purdue Pharma and its role in the opioid epidemic as he discussed his book “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty,” during the inaugural Summer Speaker Series organized by the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference and the Community library.
Tuesday, May 31, 2022


The Sun Valley Writers’ Conference is offering a couple new initiatives as it prepares for its annual conference July 16-18.

  • The conference will offer a limited number of half-priced “Next Generation Passes” to those under 35 at its 2022 conference.

    This is the first time the conference has offered such passes. The idea is to inspire the next generation of SVWC attendees. Those wishing to avail themselves of the opportunity can get on a waitlist at

    Also new this year:

  • New Voices Fellowship. This new fellowship program is designed to provide a literary experience for emerging talent. This year’s Fellows ae Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sanae Lemoine and Kalani Pickhart, whose debut novels wrestle with themes of displacement and longing, of war and love.

    The program is made possible by the support of John and Ginna Grossman of the Grossman Foundation in honor of Peggy Grossman.

  • Scholars & Fellows Program.This program is divided into two branches—Writing Fellows and Education Fellows.

    The former is designed for educators and will offer representatives from Teach for America the opportunity to attend the conference in hopes of establishing a future collaboration with TFA corps teachers and classrooms.

    The other component of the program will bring four new fellows to the conference—two from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and two from Louisiana State University’s Creative Writing MFA program. The fellows were nominated by faculty.

  • Community Scholars Program. This includes two full scholarship passes for Boise State University’s Creative Writing Department, a full scholarship pass to the executive director of the Community Library through the Barbara and Jim Cimino Scholarship and a full scholarship pass to a local teacher or high school student through the Gary Hunt Scholarship.

    Full passes are also provided to the valley’s three libraries and two local bookstores. Wood River Valley students and teachers are invited to attend Pavilion talks free of charge if space is available.

  • Community Scholars Student/Author Luncheon with Anthony Doerr

    This already-existing program—a collaboration between SVWC and local high schools—will offer students the chance to talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anthony Doerr of Boise over a private lunch. Language Arts students will receive donated copies of Doerr’s book “Cloud Cuckoo Land” beforehand and will be invited to attend his Pavilion presentation, as well.

    Past authors in this particular program have included Colson Whitehead, who wrote “The Underground Railroad.”

  • Additionally, the conference is expanding its free speaker series in partnership with The Community Library.

This past March Heather Hansman spoke about “Water and the West.” And the conference is planning a young adult speaker for the local schools this coming fall.

Summer speakers will feature Imbolo Mbue, author of the novel “We Were,” on July 11; Erich Schwartzel, who penned “Red Carpet: Hollywood, China and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy” on July 13, and Ayad Akhtar, author of “Homeland Elegies: A Novel” on July 20.

The July talks will take place at 7 p.m. at the Ketchum Forest Service Park, weather permitting. No registration is required—just bring yourself, a blanket and a picnic.

For more information, visit

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