Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference
Bemidji State University
1500 Birchmont Dr. NE #4
Bemidji, MN 56601  ~ 218-755-2851

Mathew, Sara, and Sean

photo credit: Anna Min

Sean Hill ~ Conference Director

Sean Hill has worked with the conference since 2004. He’s the author of Dangerous Goods, (Milkweed Editions, 2014), winner of a Minnesota Book Award in poetry, and Blood Ties & Brown Liquor, (UGA Press, 2008), named one of the Ten Books All Georgians Should Read in 2015 by the Georgia Center for the Book. He’s received numerous awards including fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Region 2 Arts Council, the Bush Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, The Jerome Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, the University of Wisconsin, a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Hill’s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Harvard Review, New England Review, Oxford American, Poetry,, Tin House, and numerous other journals, and in nearly two dozen anthologies including Black Nature and Villanelles. He was a professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks and in the Department of Writing & Linguistics at Georgia Southern University. Hill is a consulting editor at Broadsided Press, a monthly broadside publisher. He lives with his family in southwest Montana and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Montana.

Mathew Hawthorne ~ Conference Coordinator ~

Mathew Hawthorne has worked with the conference since 2008. He helps process participant applications, responds to questions, and works with the director to coordinate the conference – a glorious gathering of poets and writers that is the highlight of the year. In his youth, Mathew worked on sailboats, including as a charter skipper in the Caribbean and elsewhere. His poems and photography have appeared in Fire Ring Voices and Rivers Meeting and elsewhere. Mathew lives in the northwoods with his wife Debra and their grandson Quanah. Please email Mat at if you have any questions regarding the Northwoods Writers Conference.

Sara Dennison ~ Conference Administrator

Sara Dennison began working with the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference as an intern in 2013. In 2014, she was brought on as the Conference Administrator. Her role began with logistics and sound tech, emceeing participant readings, and assisting with staff, participant, auditor, and faculty needs. Over the years, this role has evolved. She helps develop online architectures for MNWC’s virtual programming, assists with marketing, archival, and many other behind the scenes tasks to ensure a happy conference for all. For the conference in 2023, she is delighted to announce that she will be facilitating an Amherst Writers & Artist style Virtual Writing Group.

Dennison has a BFA in Creative Writing and MA in English with focus in Research, Composition and Rhetoric from Bemidji State University and MFA in Fiction from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her creative work engages with resilience, recovery, and absurdity in the wake of great loss. Most recent pieces have been published in Pear Shaped Press and Alaska Women Speak. In 2022, she was awarded the Jason Wenger Award for Excellence in Creative Writing for her MFA short story and ekphrastic flash collection, Bright Acidic Fruit. She lives and teaches in Oregon and spends her summers writing in Minnesota and Door County, WI.

Angie Clark ~ BSU Summer Program Director ~ 218-755-2851

For logistical questions pertaining to housing, meals, or online registration please contact Angie Clark.

Mark Spero

Mark Spero ~ On-Site Participant Coordinator

Mark Spero (he/they) is a poet and essayist who has worked at MNWC and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference since 2023. They received the 2021 Madeline DeFrees Prize, selected by Phillip B. Williams, from the Academy of American Poets, and have received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Community of Writers, and the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference. Mark was a finalist for the 2023 Prufer Prize and won the 2024 Robert Watson Literary Prize. Their work can be found or is forthcoming in The Greensboro Review, Poetry Northwest, Pleiades, The Cortland Review, and elsewhere.