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Sun Valley Writers’ Conference

Sun Valley Writers’ Conference

Ever since I first attended, 26 years ago, the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference has been one of my very favorite events of the year. SVWC 2021 was no exception, in spite of the challenging circumstances.

This year, instead of a single four-day event, the Conference was divided into two two-day intensives to provide for less-crowded venues. Plus there was streaming, so those who preferred to attend from afar were able to enjoy close-up views of the Pavilion presenters.

Some of the things I love about the SVWC:

  • The speakers: fantastic writers who are also engaging and stimulating presenters
  • The venue: the magnificent outdoor amphitheater (the Pavilion) as well as the beautiful lawns in a picture-perfect setting
  • The reading list: a chance to get to know the presenters before, during, and after
  • The attendees: so many articulate and fun-loving people in one place!
  • The place: Sun Valley has gorgeous mountains, trails, golf, horseback riding, delectable dining, and so much more

I am extremely grateful that I felt safe and comfortable attending in person. I stayed in the amazing Hemingway suite of the Sun Valley Lodge. My terrace overlooked the fabulous outdoor ice rink and it felt quite magical.

The Conference theme for 2021 was “Horizons: Reflections on a changing world” and the presenters were extraordinary and enlightening. Here, very briefly, were some of the highlights for me:

George Packer. A prize-winning writer of fiction, nonfiction, and journalism, Packer explores “our common American identity” in his new book, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, and offered a brilliant analysis to give us hope.

Tobias Wolff. In his novels, short stories, and memoirs, Wolff has made an art of memory. In his talk, he told the surprising and fascinating story of how he cheated to get into boarding school, which saved his life.

David Eagelman. This young Stanford neuroscientist talked about the brain (he’s the brains behind the PBS series, “The Brain) and his brilliant invention to rewire it!

Lawrence Wright. This Pulitzer Prize winning author provided us with a brilliant and balanced view of all the facts surrounding this dreaded pandemic.

William D. Cohan. This former Wall Street investment banker and business writer had a huge litany of unbelievable Wall Street stories.

Isabel Allende. One of the most widely-read authors in the world and a devoted human-rights activist, Allende has exceptional energy, astonishing charisma and a compelling passion for life.

Shari Fink. Perhaps best know for her book, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, Fink captivated the audience and brought me to tears with her inside view of the battle against COVID.

Larry Diamond and Noah Feldman. In a profound conversation, these two authorities on democracy suggested that moderation, compromise, and ranked-choice voting would go a long way toward saving our democracy.

Delia Owens. This New York Times bestselling author spoke of her incredible book, Where the Crawdads Sing. I can’t wait to see the movie which is scheduled for release in summer 2022.

These wonderful speakers, and the many stimulating conversations they inspired, once again made the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference exciting, memorable, and worthwhile. I am thrilled to be able to attend and proud to be a donor year after year for this wonderful conference! I’ve already added July 16-19, 2022, to my calendar.

Sun Valley Lodge

Joyce Rey
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