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Photo credit: Erin Kirkland for iO

Each year, iO invites 200 young writers from our residency program in Metro Detroit schools to the campus of Wayne State University for the Youth Writers Conference spanning nearly every genre of writing. For students, the event is a daylong dive into literary life.

“The Youth Writers Conference is one of the most exciting things that we do. Students get an opportunity to immerse themselves in a day of writing and explore aspects of form and technique with some of the region’s most acclaimed writers,” says iO Associate Director Alise Alousi. “It is modeled after professional writing conferences, allowing students to choose areas they wish to explore and writers they’d like to learn with.”

This year’s conference will take place on Wednesday, April 26th at McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State University.



Keynote Speaker: Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess

Detroit-native Tyehimba Jess is the author of Leadbelly and Olio. Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Olio, published in 2016, has been called “Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant…” by Publisher’s Weekly’s starred review, and was selected as one of the five best poetry books of 2016. Library Journal calls Olio a “daring collection, which blends forthright, musically acute language with portraiture.” Jess is Poetry and Fiction Editor of African American Review and Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

The conference is presented with generous support from:
The Skillman Foundation, the Rotary Club of Detroit, Hanging Loose Press, Wayne State University, Barnes & Noble, and Scholastic.

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