June 23-25, 2022

David R. Collins Writers’ Conference
Rock Island Public Library & Virtual
401 19th St. Rock Island, IL
June 23, 24, and 25, 2022
(all times CST)

Click here for online registration for the 2022
David R. Collins Writers’ Conference!

*A Note on the 2022 Collins Writers’ Conference Format*

Thanks for your interest in the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference. We are currently planning for a hybrid format for this year’s Conference —we will host participants at the Rock Island Public Library for those who want to attend workshops in-person, but all workshops will be available remotely via Zoom. Some of the instructors will be in-person, while others (including the keynote and the master class) will be leading their workshops remotely via zoom. MWC staff will be online to facilitate the Zoom and in-person to help with tech and make sure the hybrid format runs smoothly. For those attending in person, masks are encouraged.

If you have questions about the format, technical needs, or anything else related to the Conference, please contact us at mwc@mwcqc.org | 309-732-7330

Thursday, June 23
Virtual Event & Reception – Figge Art Museum (225 W. 2nd St., Davenport, IA)
Livestream starts on YouTube and Facebook at 7:00 p.m. CST
Please RSVP for password

Photo by: Natasha Komoda | www.natashakomoda.com

MWC is thrilled to welcome poet and essayist Ross Gay to be the keynote speaker for our 2022 Writers’ Conference. Gay will appear at a special livestream event on Thursday, June 23, and will lead a virtual master class on Friday, June 24.

About Ross: 

Ross Gay is interested in joy.
Ross Gay wants to understand joy.
Ross Gay is curious about joy.
Ross Gay studies joy.
Something like that.
Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against WhichBringing the Shovel DownBe Holding; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His new poem, Be Holding, was released from the University of Pittsburgh Press in September of 2020. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019. 
Ross is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Rosechard Wehrenberg, of the chapbook, “River.”  He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.  Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He also works on The Tenderness Project with Shayla Lawson and Essence London. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.  

Please RSVP for passwords to the Keynote Address and Faculty Readings to sarah.elgatian@mwcqc.org

**Login info for the private workshops and master class will be sent to all registrants the week of the Conference**

Click here for online registration for the 2022 David R. Collins Writers’ Conference!

We will continue to offer scholarships to students, veterans/active duty service members, and those with financial need.

Download a scholarship application for the DRC Writers’ Conference here. We offer scholarships to students, veterans/active duty service members, and those with financial need.

For more information please email MWC, or to register via phone,
please call MWC at 309-732-7330.


2022 David R. Collins Writers’ Conference
Course Descriptions, Faculty Bios, and Schedule 


Gina Franco – Poetry Workshop – Poems that Move
(June 23-25, 8:45 – 10:15 a.m. each day)
Instructor will be online leading the class

This workshop will focus on strategies that create momentum, surprise, and emotional gravity in poems. From title and entry point, to line, turn, sensory imagery, juxtaposition, reflection, escalation, silence, and closure, we will look at how expression that is compressed and arranged in compelling ways can not only give our poems more emotional punch, but also guide us towards brave revision and new ways of envisioning and making poems.

GINA FRANCO’s recent book, The Accidental, winner of the 2019 CantoMundo Poetry Prize, was published with the University of Arkansas Press in October of 2019. Set primarily in the borderlands of the American southwest, the collection reflects on the role of accident in the making of lives—and in determining how those lives end. Her first book, The Keepsake Storm, published with the University of Arizona Press, interrogates the uneasy alliance between the vehemence of memory and the surrealism of narrative, especially in light of language, place, faith, and identity. She keeps a journal of photographs at reli[e]able signs that reflects her travels between Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas—where her family lives—and Illinois, where she and her husband live and work most of the year.

Her writing has been widely published in literary journals, including: 32 Poems, AGNI, America, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Diagram, Image, The Georgia Review, Los Angeles Review, Narrative, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner. Her work is also anthologized in A Best of Fence: the First Nine Years; Lasting: Poems on Aging; The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry; Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing; and The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity.

She teaches poetry writing, 18th & 19th-century British literature, Gothic literature, poetry translation, Borderland writing, religion and literature, and literary theory at Knox College, where she was awarded the Philip Green Wright-Lombard Prize for distinguished teaching.  

Jesus “Chuy” Renteria – Memoir Workshop: Mapping our Memories for Storytelling
(June 23-25, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. each day)

In this workshop we’ll go over a process for mapping our memories, blending physical landscapes with emotional ones, to find moments that get past the “truth” and arrive at the music of storytelling.

Jesus “Chuy” Renteria is an author, dancer, artist, storyteller, and teacher born in Iowa City and raised in the town of West Liberty, Iowa. A central figure in the local Hip Hop dance scene, Chuy completed their BA in Dance from the University of Iowa as a first-generation student. Chuy is currently on staff at the Hip Hop studio, All the Way Up in North Liberty, IA. Their stories are featured in the Iowa Writer’s House anthology We the Interwoven. The first published collection of Iowan stories by bicultural Iowan’s. Chuy’s first full-length publication with the University of Iowa Press, We Heard It When We Were Young, is a memoir about growing up in West Liberty, Iowa’s first majority Hispanic town. Chuy’s performance background, as well as their past work in advocating for special needs individuals in connecting them to the larger community, led them to Hancher Auditorium, where they worked as Public Engagement Coordinator, connecting artists with the community in civically engaged ways. Chuy is currently on staff at Diversity Resources as Assistant Director, hoping to continue their work of advocating for arts and community through the lens of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Jennifer Colville – Short Fiction Workshop: Shaping the Short Story 
(June 23-25, 1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. each day)

What shape does you short story demand? Does it curve like an Aristotelian arc, or peak like Freytag pyramid? Does it call for something associative such as a many branched collage, or wandering and exploratory such as an essay? Wonderful short stories have been written in the form of field notes, interviews, love letters, and recipes. Poe and Aristotle suggest some ground rules. We’ll use these rules as our basic armature, and from there work to guide your story toward its rightfully traditional or yet-to-be-invented shape. 

Jennifer Colville holds an M.F.A. from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. Her stories have appeared in The Literary ReviewThe Mississippi ReviewThe Iowa ReviewDiagram, and on the Huffington Post. A collection of short stories, Elegies for Uncanny Girls, was published by Indiana University Press in 2017. She is the founding editor of PromptPress, a journal for the interplay of visual art and writing. Jennifer has taught at The University of Iowa, San Francisco State, the University of San Francisco, and Coe College. She co-runs the Free Generative Writing Workshops in Iowa City.

LaTanya McQueen – Novel Workshop: Elements of Scene
(June 23-25, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. each day)
Instructor will be online leading the class

Scenes play a key role in a novel’s structure. In this workshop, we’ll examine the different components of scene-building to learn how they can be manipulated and amplified to certain effects in our writing, as well as strategies for revision. Whether you’ve been working on a novel or are wanting to start something new, this course will provide you with approaches for moving forward.

LaTanya McQueen is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (2022 Fellowship in Prose) and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She is the author of two books—the essay collection And It Begins Like This (Black Lawrence Press, 2017) and the novel When the Reckoning Comes (Harper Perennial, 2021).

Her stories and essays have been published in West Branch, TriQuarterly, Pleaides, New Ohio Review, The Arkansas International, The Florida Review, Bennington Review, Passages North, Black Warrior Review, Fourteen Hills, The North American Review, Ninth Letter, New Orleans Review, Indiana Review, and other journals, as well as having won the Disquiet Prize (for nonfiction), the Walker Percy Prize (for fiction), and the Best of the Net (for nonfiction).

She received her MFA from Emerson College, her PhD from the University of Missouri, was the 2017-2018 Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer Fellow at Cornell College, and currently is an Assistant Professor of English-Creative Writing and African American Studies at Coe College. She is also the CNF Editor for Gigantic Sequins, the Associate Editor for Story Magazine, and is on the board for Iowa City’s UNESCO City of Literature.


Conference Faculty Reading and Participant Open Mic
Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave, Rock Island, IL) and Livestream via Zoom and YouTube on Friday June 24, 7:00 p.m. CST

Join us at Rozz-Tox to hear Conference faculty reading their work. Followed by an open mic for Conference participants. Free and open to the public.




Book Pitches

Ten minutes to pitch your book to Jodie Toohey from Legacy Book Press and/or to representatives from MWC Press. Pitch times will be scheduled with authors in advance of the Conference. Cost is $15, and pre-registration is required.

About the Presses:

Legacy Book Press is a full traditional publishing company based in Davenport, Iowa, seeking to publish book-length personal works in the form of non-fiction, autobiographical fiction, and/or poetry. Visit legacybookpress.com for more information, submission guidelines, and royalty split/author copy options. 

Please be prepared to tell us about your project during your pitch, and bring two copies each of the entire manuscript, a one page or shorter synopsis, and a statement of how you plan to market your book. If we choose your book for publication and you publish with us (you incur no obligation by pitching to us or having us choose your work for publication), we will credit the cost of the pitch session to your publishing package. For more information about pitching to Legacy Book Press, please contact owner Jodie Toohey or visit the Legacy Book Press website. 

MWC Press: The panel requests each author bring a one-page summary of their pitch—brief synopsis of the manuscript, brief author bio/other publications, brief outline of marketing ideas/strategy, etc. The panel will take these summaries and their input from the pitch sessions back to the MWC Board of Directors and related committees to make a final decision. Authors whose work advances through this process may be asked to provide more detailed information.

Pearl City Press: Pearl City Press is the publishing imprint of Writers on the Avenue, a literary nonprofit based in Muscatine, Iowa. We seek to give voice to vibrant stories telling a human truth from a new or unheard perspective. For fiction and creative nonfiction, please submit a cover letter, a short synopsis and the first three chapters. In your letter, please include your bio, a brief description of your target audience, and what makes your story unique. More information can be found at pearlcitypress.com.


Please click here to register online for the 2021 David R. Collins Writers’ Conference!

Please call Ryan Collins at (309) 732-7330 to register over the phone today, or email him at mwc@midwestwritingcenter.org for more information.


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Conference Sponsors:

Modern Woodman of America,
Founding Sponsor of the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference

Regional Development Authority

The Figge Art Museum

St. Ambrose University English Department


Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts


Illinois Humanities

Rock Island Public Library