Thursday, March 31, 2011

Priscilla Long in current issue of American Scholar!

We recently wrote a post about Priscilla Long's new book, "A Writer's Portable Mentor:" a great book for anyone serious about writing.

While you're at the bookstore grabbing that, you may also want to nab a copy of "The American Scholar:" Priscilla's also got an essay in their Spring issue. The essay is called "Interview with a Neandertal: What I always wanted to ask our distant cousins about love and death and sorrow and dinner."

Congratulations, Priscilla! And happy reading!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Interview With Margaret Randall!

Check out this new interview by Maria Maloneywith accomplished poet and Taos faculty member Margaret Randall.

Margaret talks about her exraordinary experience living in places like Mexico, Cuba and Nicaragua as a writer, activist and mother.

We're so excited that Margaret Randall will be teaching at this year's Taos Conference: her weekend poetry workshop is open to all levels.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jane Ciabattari Moderating Panel on Family and Writing at Tennesee Williams Festival

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival gets underway this week (in, of course, New Orleans), and several Taos faculty will be on hand to participate! Jane Ciabattari, who is returning for her second year as an instructor at this year's Taos Conference, will be moderating a panel on March 26th called "It's a Family Affair." The panelists two other former Taos folks, Dorothy Allison and Valerie Martin. If you're attending the Festival, make sure to attend! Here's a description of the panel, from Jane:
It’s been said that families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts. Making use of the crazy aunts, the uncles who like to take a drink or two, the wild siblings, writers have long been mining the nut bowl for material, transforming a family’s less than perfect habits into pitch-perfect narratives. From secrets to skeletons in the closet to the hair-brained schemes and heartbreaks, writing about the family is one way to make the dysfunctional work. Dorothy Allison, Valerie Martin, Rosalyn Story, and Susan Straight share their strategies for creating stellar narratives from the ties that bind.
Panelists: Dorothy Allison, Valerie Martin, Rosalyn Story, and Susan Straight.
Moderator: Jane Ciabattari.
Royal Sonesta Grand Ballroom, 300 Bourbon Street
Wish we could be there!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Rideshare from Albuquerque to Taos, Sunday 7/10

One of the continuing functions we hope this blog will have is to help anyone who's interested coordinate travel to the conference!

And we've already got our first posting from a participant: Greg Winkler will be driving up to Taos from Albuquerque no later than 2 pm on Sunday July 10th. If you plan to come in before then and need a ride, email Greg at

And if you're looking to offer or share rides and would like to post on the blog, email me (Elizabeth) at and I'll be happy to post your information.

Looking forward to July!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Memoir Scholarship for 2011 Will Honor Barbara Robinette Moss

On June First, we will invite participants enrolled in menoir and nonfiction classes to apply for a scholarship being offered at this year's conference in memory of Barbara Robinette Moss, a dear friend of the conference. A note about the scholarship, from Founding Director Sharon Warner:

At the 2011 Conference, Barbara Robinette Moss will be with us in spirit if not in fact.   An accomplished visual artist (that's her self-portrait, above) and the author of two acclaimed memoirs—Change Me Into Zeus’s Daughter and fierce—Barb Moss was also a beloved instructor at the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. 

Word about her beginning memoir workshops-- “fantastic,” “incredible,” “fabulous,” “inspiring,” and “productive”-- traveled quickly from one year’s participants to the next, and she brought her magic to Taos for four sweet years—2006-2009.  Those of us who knew her well were deeply touched by the joy she brought to every experience, by her humor and humanity, and her unwavering will to live.  We knew the extent of her illness and that she grew a bit frailer with each passing year, and, yet, when news of her passing reached us in October of 2009, we were stunned.  How was it possible?  How could someone so full of life be gone?  

Barb’s husband, Duane DeRaad, and members of her 2009 Beginning Memoir Workshop (pictured below), have made it possible to remember her this year with the 2011 Barbara Robinette Moss Scholarship in Memoir.  

 We encourage attendees participating in memoir and nonfiction classes to apply for this one-year award.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

In Memoriam: Taos Participant Sandra Jones, December 18, 1948-November 27, 2010

Sandra Jones, who attended the Taos Conference last year, passed away in November after many years of illness. She took Jane Ciabbatari's workshop--that's her on the far right in the above photo. Sandra was a beloved member of her writing community in Seattle. Wilhemina Condon, who also came to Taos and knew Sandra well throughout her cancer, wrote this remembrance:

Sandra received a small reprieve last summer, a small, but valuable, gift of time.  By July her battle with cancer was at an uneasy stalemate.  She wanted to spend her time writing.  She wanted to go to the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference.  She wanted to work on her craft.  She had become a serious writer.  It was a good week.  She was a diligent student, completing every assignment and attending every lecture.  She took copious notes.  She worked hard and felt she was making progress.  Her teacher, Jane Ciabattari, recognized her talent and praised her work.  She was writing strong and well. 

Four months later I drove Sandra home from the hospital late at night in an artic snowstorm that hit Seattle just before Thanksgiving.  Her time was running out.  We drove slowly through the empty snow hushed streets.  There were abandoned cars on the road and the moon was bright.  Everything looked familiar and unfamiliar under the mounds of snow.  Time seemed to pause and then mercifully stopped and we were alone in the universe, just two travelers in time, together in those suspended seconds.  I remembered such a moment at Taos driving with Sandra down a red clay road on a hot July afternoon.  We had taken a wrong turn that turned out to be right and found ourselves in the middle of nowhere stunned into silence by the sheer magnitude of a New Mexico sunset.  I remember feeling small and important at the same time as the universe expanded before us.  

Sandra must have thought of that sunset too because she smiled at me and said, “Taos.”