Attendee Letter 2018

Welcome to the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference ~ June 18-24, 2018

Conference Check in: Please check in between noon and 5pm, Monday, June 18 at the AIRC. It is not necessary to arrive by noon – but we will be there to greet you if you do. This is where you meet the staff and we provide you with a WIFI code and a packet of information on the conference and environs. Computers and a printer are available for conference participants at the AIRC. We also have books for sale and refreshments.

The American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) on the campus of Bemidji State University is the headquarters for the conference. The AIRC is a distinctive building next to Diamond Point Park with plenty of parking in the adjacent lot. Parking is also available on the street and subject to city ordinances as posted. The address is: 1620 Birchmont Dr. NE #21 Bemidji, MN 56601-2907. The AIRC is within walking distance of the residence halls on campus. Bemidji State University Map

Campus Housing Check-in (key pick-up) for Linden and Birch residence halls will take place as follows: Sunday, June 17 from 3-7 pm at Linden Hall; Monday, June 18 from 12 pm – 5 pm at the American Indian Resource Center. Everyone is encouraged to arrive during these times.  Anyone arriving outside of those times will need to call the duty phone at 218-308-1292.

Parking is free during the summer in any of the BSU lots except at meters.

Workshop participants should arrive early enough to check in and attend your first workshop at 2:30pm, Monday, June 18. Check in at the AIRC. We will have maps and guides to workshop locations.

The opening dinner will be at 5:30, Monday, June 18 in the in the Beaux Arts Ballroom of the Upper Hobson Memorial Union. We will provide directions and we have a staff of 10 to help direct folks. Then, Paisley Rekdal will be reading at 7:30 in the Gathering Place of the AIRC!

Complimentary Shuttle Service from Bemidji Regional Airport (BJI) to the Bemidji State University Campus: Anyone needing shuttle service from the Bemidji Regional Airport to the BSU Campus needs to RSVP in the survey emailed out on May 18, 2018.  This survey will be open until Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.  If you didn’t get the e-mail, please contact Mat Hawthorne at 218.308.1180 or email us at

It is important to book the right flight into BJI to arrive in time for the conference. The flight arrives at 12:19pm, on a Delta shuttle, in plenty of time to check in, settle into your room, and make it to the first workshop at 2:30.  You may also arrive the day before or the night before (11pm), on Sunday, and request an airport pick up from conference staff.

To drive to the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference from the Twin Cities: give yourself at least 4 hours. The easiest way is to take Highway 94 west to the Clearwater/Clear Lake exit (before St. Cloud), go north for a couple miles to Highway 10 West to Little Falls, and take the 371 exit north to Cass Lake, then Highway 2 west to Bemidji. The first exit to Bemidji will take you through town, past Paul and Babe and along the waterfront to Bemidji State University. There will be signs posted along Paul Bunyan Drive for the Writers Conference.

Front Desk Assistance for Housing: If you need assistance during your stay in the residence halls, the front desk of Linden Hall will be open from 3 pm – 7 pm. The Linden desk will serve conference guests staying in Birch and Linden. You will not need a key to enter the building at these times.  If you need assistance with a residence hall related concern outside of these hours, please call the on-call duty person 218-308-1292.

Housing Check-out Envelopes will be provided to everyone staying in the Residence Halls.  Place this envelope in the key box at the front desk of Birch or Linden between 8 am – 12 pm on Sunday, June 24th and Monday, June 25th.  Anyone departing outside of these times must call the duty phone at 218-308-1292. Keys not turned in by 12 pm on Monday, June 25th will be subject to $50 re-core fees.

If you are staying on Campus, you do not need to provide your own sheets, but you may want to bring an extra blanket or a favorite pillow. A towel and washcloth are provided, but again, you may want to bring your own. If you are staying in Birch Hall, you may want to bring a fan, since it is not air-conditioned, although the climate tends to be moderate in June. Linden Hall can be quite cool and you should consider bringing an extra blanket. Both Linden and Birch Halls have a communal kitchen with a refrigerator available to conference participants. There is a campus cafeteria and there will also be food available to order from local restaurants and stores that deliver. We will provide a list upon registration.

Food Service on Campus: There will be five meals provide by the Writers Conference (see conference schedule: ) beginning with an opening dinner Monday. Food service on campus is available in the Walnut Food Court.

Breakfast:  7-8 am, Monday – Friday – $5.20

Lunch:  11:45 am – 1:30 pm, Monday – Thursday – $7.30

Dinner:  6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Monday – Thursday – $8.30

Food Off Campus: Wollman Coffee Shop is on 15th near Paul Bunyan Drive, 2 blocks from campus, and opens at 6:30 AM. They offer a 10% discount to MNWC participants with a badge. Next to Wollman is C.K. Dudley’s Express, which has food, tap beer, and a convenience store – open until 10 PM. There is also an Erbert & Gerbert’s sandwich shop across the street and they deliver: (218) 444-9700. The Bunkhouse Bar and Grill (14th) is also close by and features breakfast, burgers and beer (8 AM open). There is a CVS drugstore a block from campus on the corner of 23rd St NE and Paul Bunyan Drive. DaRoo’s Pizza also has affordable soups, salads and sandwiches. There is a Hardee’s and a Buffalo Wild Wings close to campus.

Downtown, a half hour walk from campus, contains many good restaurants, coffee shops and bars. We recommend the Wild Hare Bistro and Coffee House (near the courthouse) for coffee and WIFI. On Beltrami Ave, Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant has good food and WIFI and Tutto Bene offers fine dining with local fresh foods. Raphael’s Bakery opens at 6AM and serves full breakfasts and delivers lunch. Harmony Food Coop is on Irvine Avenue near the post office and Minnesota Nice Cafe. 209 Bar and Red Stu are the newest addition – on Third Street – and have excellent food and beverages for breakfast through late night. For more information on local restaurants, parks, and local attractions visit:

What to bring: All workshops are generative workshops. Simply bring whatever you need to write with and feel comfortable bringing notebook, journal, writing instruments, laptop or tablet and bring any reading material you find inspiring as well as any work you would like to share. Computers and a printer are available at the AIRC for conference participants and at the BSU Library (from 8 am – 3:45 pm) for the general public.

What to wear: In general, it is a good idea to have a sweater or long-sleeved shirt on hand, especially in the mornings. Temps range from 50 at night to the 80s during the day. Classrooms we use for the genre workshops are air-conditioned and tend to run cold. Evening readings tend to be warmer because of the angle of the mid-summer sun entering the Gathering Place.

Here is a typical weather forecast for the week: partly sunny with a chance of showers, a daytime high of 80 and a low of 55. We may also enjoy a good thunderstorm, double rainbows, and a splendid display of northern lights! An umbrella or light rain jacket may come in handy. It stays light until 10pm. If you are in the park, mosquitoes may come out in the evenings. Either cover up or use repellent.

For swimmers, there is a pool at the rec center ($3) and a beach at Diamond Point Park. Diamond Point Park is right behind the AIRC and has parking for visitors. Visit the Outdoor Program Center at Diamond Point to enjoy the canoes, kayaks, sailboats, bicycles and other equipment. Explore the extensive trail system. Bicycles are also available near the conference and in town through Nice Ride Bemidji