Arts Thrive at Stony Brook Southampton

arts summerAnother sign that summer is officially here is the kickoff on July 9 of the Southampton Writers Conference at Stony Brook Southampton. Now in its 39th year, the Conference offers intimate, intensive workshop sessions led by distinguished authors, with a rich schedule of readings, lectures, panels and discussions given by world-class novelists, essayists, editors, poets and children’s book authors. The Conference draws some of America’s finest writers to teach five- and 12-day workshops on poetry, fiction, nonfiction and screenwriting on Stony Brook University’s 82-acre campus in Southampton. The Conference runs concurrently with the Southampton International Theatre Festival, the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference and the 20/20/20 Film Program.

This year’s stellar faculty and guests include Libba Bray, author of the young adult Gemma Doyle trilogy; Billy Collins, a two-term U.S. poet laureate; novelist Julia Glass; film and television producer Annette Handley Chandler; poet Terrance Hayes; short-story writer and essayist Matthew Klam; Peter Lerangis, author of children’s and young-adult fiction, best known for his Seven Wonders series; Patricia Marx, humorist and staff writer for The New Yorker; essayist, author and Stony Brook distinguished teaching professor Roger Rosenblatt; novelist, short story-writer and essayist Frederic Tuten; novelist Meg Wolitzer and children’s book author, illustrator and television producer Dan Yaccarino.

This year Southampton Arts has added new features so that community members and those interested in learning about writing may participate: The programs, “Finding Your Voice” is an introductory workshop in creative writing, and “The Listener’s Pass” is designed to give lovers of writing access to all the readings, electives, panels and evening events. There are also a number of evening events open to the public. For more information or to register for an event visit

As part of the Southampton International Theatre Festival, the public is invited to a free reading of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell on July 12. Starring Mercedes Ruehl, Matthew Klam, Ain Gordon, and others, the piece catapults us into the hilarious and heartbreaking life and words of one of the most revered storytellers of our time. A five-person ensemble performs Spalding Gray’s legendary stories and monologues — interwoven with previously unpublished material from his letters and journals.

On July 18, TSR: The Southampton Review, the literary journal published by Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Creative Writing is proud to present the East End debut of The Moth, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. The debut of this prestigious program to celebrate the launch of TSR’s summer issue will be an opportunity for the public to see the innovative work occurring on campus. Storytellers include Meg Wolitzer, author and journalist Ted Conover, writer and performer Tara Clancy, neuroscientist Wendy Suzukiand is hosted by The New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik.

mccleanIn association with the Conference, there is also the Young Artists and Writers. The program offers creative writing workshops in Southampton and Manhattan as well as a scriptwriting workshop in Southampton. The program is open to students age 13–18.

By Christian McLean
Faculty Conference Coordinator and
Lecturer, MFA Creative Writing and Literature
Southampton Graduate Arts at Stony Brook Southampton