What are the dates of the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference? June 22 – 28, 2020

Can anyone attend the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference or are there requirements? Those interested in attending a writing workshop must submit a writing sample, which will be reviewed to determine eligibility for attendance. Past participants are automatically eligible in the genre they previously participated in but will need to submit a new writing sample for a different genre. Auditors do not need to submit a writing sample. All participants are subject to conference fees. However, the evening readings are free and open to the public.

How can I pay for registration once I have been accepted to the conference? Once you have applied online and been accepted (allow two days), you will receive an electronic link to a secure payment site hosted by Bemidji State to pay for the conference online. Contact the Conference Coordinator at writersconference@bemidjistate.edu with any questions.

Can I mail in a check? Yes, although we prefer electronic payment online. Please verify with the conference coordinator at writersconference@bemidjistate.edu the amount you need to pay. Our mailing address is:

Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference
Bemidji State University
1500 Birchmont Dr. NE #4
Bemidji, MN 56601

Is there a dress code? Business Casual is the norm.

Bemidji in June: Our temps may range from 50 at night to the 80s during the day. The classroom buildings we use for the genre workshops are air-conditioned and tend to run cool. In general, it is a good idea to have a sweater or long-sleeved shirt on hand. Evening readings tend to be warmer because of the angle of the mid-summer sun entering the Gathering Place at the American Indian Resource Center.

Where do I go on the first day of the conference to check in? The American Indian Resource Center is the headquarters for the conference. You will meet the Conference Staff, pick-up your registration materials, acquire your WIFI passcode, and have an opportunity to purchase books. Light refreshments will be served. Make sure you arrive in time to meet with your first workshop session at 2:30 PM on the first day! Workshops will gather at 2:15 PM at the AIRC and then proceed to their workshop space in Bridgman Hall.

What is The American Indian Resource Center and how do I get there? The American Indian Resource Center near Diamond Point Park is the headquarters for the conference.  The address is: 1620 Birchmont Dr. NE #21 Bemidji, MN 56601-2907. Bemidji State University Map. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the American Indian Resource Center. In addition, parking is available in the lot across from the AIRC (the gates are up) and on the street. The American Indian Resource Center is within walking distance to Linden Residence Hall on campus.

How do I get to The American Indian Resource Center from the Bemidji airport? If you need a shuttle from the Bemidji airport to BSU’s campus, we have a University van and a Conference Driver designated to assist with transportation.  Please contact Angie Gora by 218-755-2851 by June 1 to make arrangements. It normally takes 10 minutes.

Do you have recommendations regarding flying to Bemidji? Book your flights early! There are two flights into Bemidji (BJI) from Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) each day on Delta. In order to arrive in time to check into the conference and attend the opening workshop on June 17, it is wise to arrive on the noon flight (12:19 PM) rather than the 11pm flight. Return departures to MSP are limited to 5 AM or 12:30 PM. Seating is limited. MSP / BJI round trip is $300+ but may be substantially less for those connecting to other destinations on Delta. Book your flights early!

How do I get to the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference from the Twin Cities? Give yourself at least 4 hours to get to Bemidji from the Twin Cities. 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. The American Indian Resource Center is a distinctive building next to Diamond Point Park with plenty of parking. This will be your conference check-in and headquarters. For a campus map, please click the following link: Bemidji State University Map. Printed maps will also be available at the Conference Check-in.

I hear the parking at/near The American Indian Resource Center is limited. Should I carpool? The lot adjacent to the American Indian Resource Center accommodates parking for staff, faculty, and conference participants. In the event that it fills up, there is additional parking on the street near the American Indian Resource Center and in Diamond Point Park. In addition, the Bangsberg Parking lot is located at the south end of campus has a surplus of parking available. However, if convenient, carpooling is encouraged.

Are any meals included in the conference fee? Yes. There is an opening reception dinner, an afternoon barbecue, a lakeside picnic dinner, a Saturday breakfast, and a closing breakfast on Sunday morning. Coffee and rolls are provided before each morning Craft Talk and there are also light refreshments served during most afternoon events and at the Evening Reading Series. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available on campus from Monday-Friday for $5 to $8. There are also many food options nearby and in town that deliver. Ask conference staff for more information.

Food service is available on campus in the Walnut Hall Food Court at the following times (subject to change).

  • Breakfast:  7-8 am, Monday – Friday – $5
  • Lunch:  11:45 am – 1:30 pm, Monday – Friday – $7
  • Dinner:  6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Monday – Thursday – $8

Are there kitchen facilities in the dorms? Yes, Linden Hall has a communal kitchen with a refrigerator available to conference participants. The Writers Conference staff stocks the kitchen with utensils. If you need anything, or you need a ride to the store, please contact conference staff or sign up for a time at the conference headquarters in the AIRC.

What about drinking water? There are water fountains in all the campus buildings and residential facilities. Water bottle filling stations are in the AIRC and Hobson Union. We also serve chilled water at most functions.

Are minors permitted to attend the conference? With adult supervision, minors able to exhibit appropriate behavior that will not be disruptive are welcome to attend the sessions that are open to the public. Minors interested in participating in a workshop need to follow the application criteria. All minors staying overnight will need to have adult supervision.

Will I be able to buy copies of the authors’ books at the conference? Yes. During the conference we will have a full selection of books for sale at the American Indian Resource Center. In addition, copies of books will be available in the campus bookstore.

Can I get my books signed? A reception and book signing will follow each faculty reading in the Evening Reading Series.

Are The American Indian Resource Center and Bemidji State University wheelchair accessible? Yes. If registering for campus housing, please indicate preference for a handicap accessible room.

After I’ve applied for the conference, do I need to pre-register for the workshops or could I just attend any or all? Conference participants apply for a specific workshop for the week. It is an intensive workshop. Auditors do not attend one of our five faculty-led workshops, but auditors are given a space in the AIRC to workshop among themselves, and auditors can partake in all other conference activities and amenities.

Are the morning craft talks and nightly readings included in my registration fee? Yes.

I opted for the manuscript consultation with one of the presenters. When do I meet with him/her? Time has been set aside for consultations during most afternoons (see schedule) but your faculty member and workshop intern will make arrangements for a time that is suitable for both of you.

I’ve opted for the manuscript consultation with one of the presenters. According to your guidelines, my manuscript cannot exceed 10 pages for poetry (no more than one poem per page) or 25 doubled-spaced pages for prose. My manuscript is quite a bit longer than 25 pages. In fact, it’s a novel/memoir. Can I submit my entire manuscript? Given the time constraint of the faculty’s time it is difficult to review manuscripts that exceed the guideline. In addition, the consultation is 30-minutes. To make the most of the time with the faculty, we suggest that you hone in on the parts of your manuscript where you feel you need the most guidance.

Will commemorative merchandise be sold or given out at the conference? The Bemidji State University bookstore will have limited hours during the week of the conference where you can purchase university merchandise. Books from the authors will be available at the American Indian Resource Center and the University Bookstore.

Do the conference organizers provide transportation to and from hotels and The American Indian Resource Center? We are unable to provide transportation between hotels and the American Indian Resource Center. We do offer affordable housing accommodations on campus, which is within walking distance of the American Indian Resource Center. http://www.bemidjistate.edu/students/reslife/housing/residence_halls/

Do I have to stay in the Residence Halls? No. This is an affordable option for out of town conference attendees who do not have access to local transportation. However, there are many hotels locally to choose from. Those who plan to stay in a hotel will need to find their own transportation to and from hotels to BSU’s campus.

I am staying in Linden. What do I need to bring?  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. Linden Hall can be quite cool and you should consider bringing an extra blanket.

Campus Housing Check-in to the residence halls will take place in the American Indian Resource Center on Monday, June 17 from 12 pm – 5 pm.  If you arrive on Sunday, the front desk of Linden Hall will be open from 3 pm – 7 pm and you will not need a key to enter the building. Housing staff will be able to check you in. If you arrive anytime outside of these timeslots, please contact the Residential Life on-call duty person at 218-308-1292. Someone will meet you in the entrance way to Linden Hall and check you into your room.

Can I submit ideas for future conferences? Like classes I’d like, or authors to invite? Yes. We encourage feedback. Participants will be invited to fill-out an evaluation at the end of the conference for an opportunity to share ideas or interests.

Are the evening reading series free and open to the public? Yes. No advance registration required.

If I can’t make it there early will I get shut out of the event? The doors will remain open. However, we encourage timely participation for your benefit and the benefit of the faculty and other attendees.

Are the public readings suitable for all ages? Many of the readings pertain to an adult audience.

Will I be able to meet with the presenters one-on-one? There may be opportunities to engage with the faculty informally during conference meals and other social events, such as the pontoon outing on Lake Bemidji. The workshops are capped at 12, which will allow for more personal interactions with the faculty. You can also submit a manuscript and fee to have a 30-minute private consultation with the faculty member that matches your genre. Manuscripts consultations are limited to 8 per workshop, first-come, first-served,  and manuscripts are due through an electronic submission page by May 10.

Can I have a presenter critique one of my works? Sure, if you are participating in a workshop, you can submit a manuscript and fee to have a 30-minute private consultation with the faculty member that matches your genre. Manuscripts are due May 10.

Who can apply for a scholarship? Anyone can apply. Scholarships are awarded based on need and literary merit. See the Scholarship Opportunities heading under the Conference Cost page. The scholarship deadline for 2020 is February 20.

I have other questions that aren’t addressed here. Who can I contact? Mathew Hawthorne at writersconference@bemidjistate.edu or Angie Gora 218-755-2851.

What Sponsorship Opportunities are there for the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference? There are many opportunities to support the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference. Donations of any value help us to provide scholarships for our participants. In addition, we have scholarship naming opportunities for sponsorship of higher values. Please contact Mathew Hawthorne at writersconference@bemidjistate.edu to discuss options.