Antonya Nelson & 4 Tenacious Women

July 19, 2019
My first introduction to Antonya Nelson was on a New Yorker fiction podcast, that cozy club of New Yorker authors choosing each other’s backlist stories to read and discuss with preternaturally calm editor Deborah Treisman. A chief pleasure of this podcast is how it showcases affinities among writers, and when Lorrie Moore reads Antonya Nelson’s "Naked Ladies," the shared sensibility is evident. Wry tragi-comedies in the domestic sphere, with a mastery of dialogue as revelation of character. If there’s a quintessential New Yorker fiction writer, it’s Antonya Nelson, who has published no fewer than 17 stories there since 1991.
We’re thrilled to bring Antonya Nelson to this year’s conference, where she’ll give a reading and lead a fiction craft talk. It’s one of several sessions underscoring the value of the “$125 general admission without workshop” option. We know that our registrants return to KyWomenWriters year after year, and sometimes they’re not at a place in their work where they want to do a workshop. Craft talks with some generative exercises can get the juices flowing in a lower-key setting than the intensive workshops. Later that day Nicole Chung will also lead a craft talk in nonfiction, and between those two sessions, you’re sure to come away with new tools and directions for your reading and writing.
Congratulations to the winners of our new Tenacious Women Scholarships, launched this year with the support of Pamela Greet. A citizen of Australia, Pamela traveled here all the way from Queensland last year and had such a memorable experience that we quote her on our website giving praise for the 2018 conference:  "Absolute highlight of 2018 was being part of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference and meeting and listening to Carolyn Finney, Tarfia Faizullah, Jane Friedman (a super warm soul) and the amazing Mary Gaitskill. Lexington is a place of fascinating intersections." Pamela vowed to spread this opportunity to older writers of limited means. “Being 61 and unpublished myself,” Pamela said, “I am very aware of the difficulties of getting noticed for people who come to writing after putting others before their creativity.” We congratulate:

  • Barbara Alfaro of Lexington, KY
  • Taylor Emery of Clarksville, TN
  • Thandiwe Shiphrah of Nashville, TN
  • Gale Walden of Urbana, IL

Scholarships for emerging writers without an age criteria, formerly known as postgraduate scholarships, have also been awarded to Reva Russell English, Sabrina Islam, Joy Neighbors, Bev Olert, and Darlene Taylor (earned in 2018 and deferred). Even though our registration fees are among the lowest of any writers conference nationwide, we know they are still a barrier to participation for many, and these scholarships go a long way towards ensuring that talent equals opportunity at KyWomenWriters.