Many of you may know that the Taos Summer Writers' Conference founder and director, Sharon Oard Warner, began the Conference sixteen years ago in order to create a link between the University of New Mexico and the D.H. Lawrence Ranch just outside of beautiful Taos, New Mexico. For years, the Conference has taken loads of participants to the Ranch, had fellows stay in the fellowship cabin before the property fell into disrepair, and created, at least for this magical week in July, that thing that Lawrence so desired: a utopian society where writers and artists of all kinds can go to create and commune.
Rananim—derived from the Hebrew word for rejoice—is the name D. H. Lawrence gave to his dream of a congenial community of writers and artists. The eleven months the novelist spent at the “Kiowa Ranch,” as it was known in his time, were the closest he ever came to establishing his utopian society. In 1955, Frieda Lawrence deeded the property to the University of New Mexico with the provision that the Ranch be used for educational and recreational purposes and that it be open to the public. Unfortunately, the last decade has been a difficult one for the property, which is in need of restoration and renovation.
In keeping with Lawrence’s vision, Sharon determined to begin Rananim - The Online Community of the Taos Summer Writers' Conference, which will seek to create a community of writers from around the world. Rananim will offer non-degree classes, workshops, and facilitated critiques by distinguished writers nationwide. Registration for the eight-week classes is now open and net proceeds will be used to preserve and protect the D.H. Lawrence ranch, and honor Frieda Lawrence’s vision of the ranch as a venue for the arts. Initial net proceeds of the program (projected to exceed $75,000 per annum by year 3) will also be used to fundraise and eventually to launch a proposal to establish National Landmark status for the Ranch.
To learn more about the project and Lawrence's vision for a community of writers, watch this video, directed by Conference Assistant Director, Eva Lipton-Ormand.