The 2019 Sun Valley Writers’ Conference has become an institution of my life. For over 20 years, I have spent four marvelous days sitting in the magnificent Sun Valley landscape listening to brilliant writers talking about their lives, their books and their philosophies. Each year I come home invigorated with so much information and admiration for so many talented writers. It is an intense but exhilarating time. It is difficult to select a few but I have highlighted my five favorite presentations in case you have a moment to sit back, relax, and enjoy them.
We seldom get a chance to laugh out loud until it hurts.
1. Carl Hiaasen regaled us with hysterical reality for a full hour. Carl introduced ‘The Case against Intelligent Design: True Stories from Florida’ which gave us inside scoop into the bizarre world of his favorite state.
2. Next up, Churchill: Walking with Destiny. Churchill has always been a fascinating world leader. Andrew Roberts in his dynamic and articulate presentation makes him into an utterly fascinating human being. Roberts traces the arc of Churchill’s life from boyhood through military service to leadership of his country in its darkest days. You will be hypnotized!
3. Real American: Becoming Whole by Julie Lythcott-Haims was an utterly amazing presentation which will open your eyes to the reality of being African American in The United States today. She packed so much information in such an exciting way that you feel as if your blinders have been removed. Everyone in America should take a moment to listen to this exceptional human being and the journey that she has experienced.
4. Have you ever thought about how you would feel if your mother or father was a sperm donor? Dani Shapiro presented The End of Secrets: Family, History in the Age of Bioethics where she talked about receiving the stunning news through a genealogy website that her father was not her biological father and about the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover. In her newest memoir, Inheritance, she writes of her remarkable of discovery.
5. The award-winning poet, Naomi Shihab Nye is known for her luminous, inspirational spirit both on the page and off. I found that her session, ‘Tell My Story: The Power of Poetry’ Poetry was captivating as poetry has always fascinated me. It takes a special talent to be able to send a message in rhyme. Naomi Shihab Nye is a special gift to us all and listening to her poetry brought me to tears. A wonderful way to conclude another fantastic conference.
Here’s how you can listen to The Breakout Session recordings from 2019. They will be posted on the website for free within the coming weeks.