Attendee Letter 2019

NOTE: This page will be updated following registration.

Welcome to the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference ~ June 17-23, 2019

Conference Check in: Please check in between noon and 5pm, Monday, June 17 at the American Indian Resource Center (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.

Participant Workshops first gather by 2:15 PM on Monday, June 17 at the AIRC and then proceed to their workshop space in Bridgeman Hall. It is important to arrive on time for your first workshop! Please try to arrive early enough to register and receive your registration materials. (Workshops have previously been held in Hagg-Saur Hall, but that building will be under construction, and we will do our best to mitigate any disruption.)

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 options are as follows:

  • Sunday, June 16 from 12 pm-7 pm, Linden Hall Front Desk.
  • Monday, June 17 from 12 pm-5 pm, American Indian Resource Center.

For faster service, everyone is encouraged to arrive during these times. Anyone arriving outside of those times will need to call Residential Life on-call staff member at 218-308-1292–the dedicated “duty phone.”

Parking is free during the summer in any of the BSU lots except at meters. This includes the parking lot behind Linden Hall (entrance opposite the AIRC).

The opening dinner will be at 5:30, Monday, June 17 in the in Beaux Arts Ballroom of Upper Hobson Memorial Union. We will provide directions and we have a staff of 10 to help direct. Then, Ada Limón 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 (a 10 minute ride) needs to RSVP in the survey to be emailed in mid-May 2019, or contact Mat Hawthorne at

It is important to book the right flight into BJI to arrive in time for the conference. The flight arrives at 12:37 pm, on a Delta shuttle, in time to check into your room, register, and make it to the first workshop at 2:15. The campus is only 10 minutes from the airport. You may also arrive the day before or the night before (11:34 pm), on Sunday, and request an airport pick up from conference staff. All early arrivals should contact the Coordinator.

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 statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox 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. 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: Participants will be able to express check-out by leaving their room key and check-out envelope in a box located at the Linden Hall front desk.  Keys not returned by 12 pm on Monday, June 24, 2019 may be subject to a $50 re-core fee.  There will be no prorated rates for participants arriving late or leaving early.

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. Linden Hall can be quite cool and you should consider bringing an extra blanket.

There are two small communal kitchens with refrigerators in Linden for conference participants. if anyone needs a ride to the grocery store, contact the Coordinator. There is also a campus cafeteria and 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: C.K. Dudley Express (15th and Paul Bunyan Drive) has food, draft beer, and a convenience store – open 11 AM until 10 PM. Erbert & Gerbert’s sandwich shop (15th and Paul Bunyan Drive) is open 10 AM until 9 PM and delivers: (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.

There are many good restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and stores in beautiful downtown Bemidji – only half an hour stroll from campus on the path along the lake. We recommend the Wild Hare Bistro and Coffee House (near the courthouse) for coffee and WIFI. There is also the Cabin Coffee and Cantabria Coffee. 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. For more information on  restaurants, parks, and local attractions:

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. Conference staff will provide information about other computer resources on campus.

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 upper 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.

Typical weather for the week is partly sunny with a chance of showers, with 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. Diamond Point Park is next to 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.