Arts October 14, 2010

Sun Valley Writers' Conference

United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will join the renowned cast of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference & Workshop this summer to discuss her new book, The Majesty of the Law. Other newcomers this year include mystery writer Walter Mosley, author of the critically acclaimed series featuring “Easy Rawlins”; Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Kidder; former New York State Poet Laureate Sharon Olds; and notable historian Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization and The Gifts of the Jews.

The conference first took place on the Community School campus nine years ago, when a handful of writers and 100 participants gathered to exchange ideas on literature and film. Designed as much for readers as for writers, the conference has evolved into a yearly gathering of more than 30 writers and 750 participants. Known for its intimate sessions and moving talks, readings and film presentations, the conference has drawn some of America’s most celebrated authors to the Valley to discuss fiction, nonfiction, journalism, documentary film, and music—William Styron, Judith Freeman, Anne Lamott, Frank McCourt, and Mitch Albom, to name a few.

Among the highlights from last year was an inspirational opening talk by historian David McCullough, who spoke of the great hope, strength, and perseverance of our nation’s founders. A few nights later, humorist Dave Barry provided a wildly funny perspective on the question, “Does Truth Matter?” (“If it does,” he said, “I’m in big trouble!”)

The authors come to the conference without financial compensation, and many attend year after year. When asked what makes the conference so attractive to them, Robin Eidsmo, Assistant Director, replied, “Our writers are extraordinarily generous. And because they value their time together in our lovely mountain setting, many have become welcome ambassadors for the conference and are often our best source for new speakers and budding talent.”

The $475 cost of the four-day conference includes informal “breakout” sessions with the authors, continental breakfasts, and picnic lunches on the Sun Valley lawn. Although this year’s conference, August 22-25, has already sold out, last-minute seating may be available for certain events. For more information, visit




This article appears in the Summer 2003 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.