The New Letters Weekend Writing Conference

Returning June 2018

2018 Keynote Speaker: TBA


 2016 FACULTY 

WWC Faculty(Selected pictured, L to R: Frank Higgins, Mitch Brian, Loring Leifer, Trish Reeves, and Stanley E. Banks, and more.)

Frank Higgins (stage)          Mitch Brian (screen)
Loring Leifer (nonfiction)      Trish Reeves (poetry)
Stanley E. Banks (poetry)      Catherine Browder (fiction)
Philip Stephens (fiction)      Linda Rodriguez (guest speaker)

Kent Rader (stand-up comedian & writer)
plus more special guest editors, writers
Robert Stewart (director & nonfiction).

       "Thank you for a wonderful conference.  I appreciated the mix of discussion about writing as a craft, along with writing as a business.  The Diastole was a perfect location.  I look forward to attending another New Letters conference." 

                                                          —Recent attendee. 

What to Expect

Coached by true professionals, you will experience a whirlwind weekend of writing conducted in a stunning city venue. This conference focuses on teaching you the craft and magic of great writing. You will be exposed to many genres of writing, as well as attend workshops in the genre of your choosing. You will hear about how to market your work and the opportunities and obstacles that come with a successful writing career.


  • Regular Member, participant registration: print and mail the attached form or fax to (816) 235-5279; or register by phone at (816) 235-2736. Speech-or hearing-impaired people can use Relay Missouri 800-753-2966 (TT) or 800-753-2466 (voice). On-site check-in begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 24, 2016, at Diastole (2501 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo.), prior to the keynote lecture.  Students may also check in at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 25, 2016, at Diastole.
  • One-credit hour participants (English 438, section 0001)
  • Two or three credit-hour participants (English 438, section 0002), by required consent of instructor. Click here.
  • All registrants pay a separate $30 materials fee directly to Arts and Sciences Continuing Education (easy-use form link directly below).
  • UMKC credit students enroll as for any other regular course.
  • Non-UMKC students for credit use "Easy Access" by calling (816) 235-2736.  No transcripts required.

Schedule & Locations

The conference begins at 5:30 p.m., Friday, June 24, 2016, with a welcome reception at Diastole, 2501 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo., the beautiful UMKC Scholars’ Center donated by Mary Clark and Dr. E. Grey Dimond.

The reception will be followed by presentations and a keynote address by an award-winning writer. There is limited room for guests Friday evening; but please check with us first if you are considering bringing someone along – (816) 235-1168.

Detailed conference schedules for Saturday (9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) will be available closer to the conference dates and provided to enrollees.

A continental breakfast, hearty lunch, and snacks will be served on both Saturday and Sunday. Upon registration, you will be provided with a detailed schedule and map to Diastole.



Out-of-town participants can find many hotels convenient to Diastole.


College-Credit Participant Fees

* Regular tuition rates and fees apply for credit students.  Fees for credit follow the normal university fee structure for coursework (out of state is waived).  Fees for summer 2015 term were: $272.30 per hour for undergraduates and $345.20 per hour for graduates. Students selecting two or more credit hours will need to arrange a supplemental tutorial with the conference director. Credit registration and fees must be received before the conference begins.  Credit students receive grades based on participation, plus submitted and revised manuscripts and other assignments.  Students must submit manuscripts prior to the conference (see below, "Manuscript Evaluation").

Regular-Member Participant Fees

Conference cost without college credit is $249.00 for attendance at all sessions, readings, lunches, breakfasts, and receptions.  Participant students electing the optional, private manuscript evaluation pay an additional $75.00 per manuscript, if manuscript & fee are received by June 15, 2016; later manuscripts are charged $100 per ms.  Fees due at the time of manuscript submission.

Incidental—all participants

All participants must pay a $30.00 incidental fee, in addition to credit fees; this defrays the cost of instructional materials and helps cover miscellaneous restorative amenities for all enrollees.


You will receive a full refund if you notify us by Tuesday, June 13, 2016. After that, a $50.00 charge is retained. No refunds after the conference begins. The sponsors reserve the right to cancel the program if enrollment is insufficient and all paid registrants will receive a full refund. For information, call 816-235-2736.

Manuscript Evaluation & Initial Submission:

Credit students:  Professional, private consultation on manuscripts is required for credit students. This private evaluation is included in the tuition fee.  Manuscripts are due June 15, 2016.

Regular participants may elect to have a private manuscript consultation for an optional $75.00 fee (if we receive ms. and fee by June 15; after June 15, 2016, the fee is $100).  

Guidelines:  Initial manuscripts should be either six to eight pages of poems (no more than one poem per page), one short story, one essay, one novel chapter, or one act of a stage or screenplay. Please choose one genre only; do not mix them up. This initial manuscript is due by Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Manuscripts received later will be handled as expeditiously as possible, according to fees above. Send or deliver clear copies, in hard copy (no emails or faxes), clearly marked to New Letters Conference, University House, 5101 Rockhill Road, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64110-2499.

Structure & Checklist

A helpful checklist of required work and texts will be provided to credit registrants at the conference.  All registrants will be given a packet with weekend schedule and (optional) reading list.  Two and three credit students receive required, post-conference tutorials as part of their registration, arranged by the conference director.


Kansas City Literary Events

Arlin Buyert & Arts in Prison

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Overland Park, Kan.


New Letters on the Air Archive Audio on The Paris Review Podcast

The Paris Review’s podcast for Wed., Jan. 31, 2018, will feature John Ashbery reading his poem “Soonest Mended,” from a 1986 New Letters on the Air program. More information and links to The Paris Review Podcast here.


Clarion Awards Selection CD Special

Jamaica KincaidJim ShepardGloria Vando & Anika ParisLuis Alberto Urrea, and Alex George, normally $7.99 per episode, this cd collection comes with over $15.00 in savings. Downloads of these programs have been reduced and are available through our archives.