I conceived and founded the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference (TSWC) in 1998 to forge a connection between the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the D. H. Lawrence Ranch, 20 minutes North of Taos. In the 15 years since, the Ranch has remained important to the identity of the Conference, which has grown from its beginnings to become one of the largest and most well respected of over 300 annual writers’ conferences in the nation. Named by USA Today as one of the ten best writers’ conferences in the nation, the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference is a destination for writers from across the country and around the world – participants come each year from 35 or so states and from countries around the world. In recent years, participants have traveled from Spain, Zimbabwe, Norway, New Zealand, and elsewhere.
Time was, I could not have imagined taking Taos out of the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. (After all, the event was conceived as a means of connecting the UNM Albuquerque campus with the D. H. Lawrence Ranch outside of Taos.) For the past 17 years, the Sagebrush Inn has been a wonderful home for the event. For most of those years, we were grateful for the hospitality and efficiency of long-time owners Ken and Louise Blair. But things haven’t been the same since they retired 2 years ago.
So, we are moving down the road to hold our 18th annual Conference from July 24-31, 2016 in historic Santa Fe. Our new home will be the beautiful Drury Plaza Hotel, an historic venue filled with extensive original artwork and with wonderful amenities (e.g., daily hot breakfast, afternoon “kickback” with heavy appetizers and complimentary cocktails) and a reasonable room rate forConference attendees of $139 per night.
The Drury Plaza is located in the heart of the City Different, only 2 short blocks to the Santa Fe Plaza, as well as to the famed Canyon Road galleries and restaurants. Our new conference name is the University of New Mexico Summer Writers’ Conference in Santa Fe.
Rananim: The Online Writing Community of the TSWC
The “Kiowa Ranch” (as it was known in Lawrence’s time) is the closest D. H. Lawrence came to realizing his utopian society called Rananim. Lawrence envisioned a congenial community of artists and intellectuals, and he derived the name from the Hebrew word for “rejoice.”
Rananim is thus an apt name for an outgrowth of the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference, an online writing community offering non-degree workshops, classes, and facilitated critique groups to writers from around the nation and the world. Net proceeds from this venture will benefit the D. H. Lawrence Ranch and will serve to publicize both the property and ongoing efforts to preserve and protect this site and plan for its future use for the arts, as Frieda Lawrence and others envisioned.
Online classes are scheduled to begin in September of 2014. To learn more about Rananim and how you can contribute to the preservation of the D. H. Lawrence Ranch, see the website: http://rananim.unm.edu/