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UNT Insider | June 2010 Issue | Mayborn Conference features Black Hawk Down author

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Mayborn Conference features Black Hawk Down author

From a UNT News Service press release

Mary Karr

Mark Bowden

This summer's Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference hosted by UNT will illustrate how deeply rooted narrative is in all forms of storytelling, and how it profoundly touches readers.

"I like to think our 2010 conference will kick off The Year of the Narrative," says George Getschow, the conference's writer-in-residence. "Our speakers will showcase the power of narrative in prose writing, screenwriting, songwriting, broadcasting, blogging, memoir, and all its many permutations. They'll show us that narrative is both transformative and everlasting as a literary art form."

This year’s conference will run through July 23 to July 25 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, which is located at 1800 Highway 26 East in Grapevine, Texas. Registration fees range from $225 to $295.

The keynote speakers are three of country's top narrative practitioners: Mary Karr, author of two New York Times bestselling memoirs; Mark Bowden, writer of Black Hawk Down; and Gary Smith, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, whom Slate calls "the best magazine writer in America."

Conference seating is limited. Individual tickets are available for Karr's talk on Friday night and Bowden's talk on Saturday night. Scholarships opportunities will be announced later this spring.

V. Lane Rawlins

Mary Karr

Karr is a talented poet and memoirist credited with sparking a renaissance in memoir, Getschow says. Karr won a number of awards for her first memoir, The Liar's Club, which became a New York Times best seller. Karr's most recent memoir is Lit, which answers the question of how she escaped her toxic upbringing to tell her own tale. Karr will open the conference with her keynote address on July 23.

Bowden will deliver the keynote address on Saturday night. The best-selling author, screenwriter and journalist is best known for his book Black Hawk Down, which won the Overseas Press Club's 1997 Hal Boyle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It was also the basis for the film of the same name. Bowden also writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Vanity Fair and The Atlantic.

Smith's narratives have graced the pages of Sports Illustrated for the past two decades. He has won four National Magazine Awards, the highest honor a magazine writer can earn. Two books have been published featuring Smith's collected works Beyond the Game and Going Deep. Smith will close the conference by conducting a conversation with all conferees on Sunday.

The conference also will feature Amanda Bennett, executive editor of projects and investigations for Bloomberg News. She will be the first speaker in the conference's annual Bloomberg lecture series. Bennett has worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Oregonian and The Wall Street Journal.

Gary Smith

Gary Smith

Bill Marvel, a former narrative writer at The Dallas Morning News, has attended every conference – as a presenter, workshop leader, jurist and conferee. This year, he will stand behind the podium to talk about his experiences ghosting a memoir about Valton Burgin's combat experiences in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Marvel credits the Mayborn Conference for the six-figure book contract he and Burgin obtained for Islands of the Damned, which will be out in bookstores this month.

Marvel isn't the only one who feels that the Mayborn has launched or re-energized his literary career. The conference has awarded five book contracts through its writing competition and countless other participants have landed book deals, been published in newspapers and magazines around the country, and have seen their literary careers take off after attending the Mayborn.

For a full listing of 2010 speakers, visit Mayborn Conference website. For more information, contact Jo Ann Ballantine, conference manager, at 940-565-4778 or joann.ballantine@unt.edu.

Alyssa Yancey with UNT News Service can be reached at Alyssa.Yancey@unt.edu.

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June 2010

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