Travel Writer’s Festival

TravelHead5.gifI know this is a little late, but if you’re going to be in the Minneapolis area this weekend, check out The Loft’s Literary Center’s Travel Writer’s Festival. The Loft is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive literary center, providing writers with educational programs, mentoring services, and grants. The festival features workshops and readings for both travel writers and photographers. Here are the details:

DATE: May 5-7, 2005
LOCATION: The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis
COST: Saturday session $132 ($122 for Loft members), Sunday session $83 ($77 for members), Both Saturday and Sunday sessions $199 ($189 for members), One day registrations also include Friday’s reception and reading.

A few workshops include:

Why Travel Writing Matters (and also why it doesn’t)
Moderated by Jason Wilson, series editor of Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Travel Writing,




Travel writing is always about a specific moment—a time, a place, a journey. It’s also always about a very specific traveler—the writer. The writer imbues that moment with everything that he or she has experienced, observed, read, and lived. When focused on this dynamic, travel writing can teach us something about the world no other genre can. Travel writing’s foremost lesson may be this: We may never walk this way again, and even if we do, we will never be the same people as we are right now. More important, the world we move through will never be the same place again. In this talk, Jason Wilson will discuss what he considers to be essential travel writing; as well as what passes for travel writing while missing the mark.

How We Got Here—The Traveler’s Tale
Moderated by Catherine Watson, author of The Road Less Traveled

All cultures have origin stories involving journeys of some sort, and that puts travelers’ tales among the first forms of oral literature—think of the story of Noah’s Ark for example, or Polynesian canoe songs, Native American migration epics, or Viking sagas. In Western tradition, the first European guidebook was written in 1130 by a French monk for religious pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St. James in extreme northwestern Spain. From then on, travel literature has had an unbroken history and appeal. Catherine Watson will share key voices in travel writing from Marco Polo and Bernal Díaz del Castillo, through Victorian adventurers like Mary Kingsley and Isabella Bird, to the popularist American writer Richard Halliburton and such contemporary masters as Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer, and Ian Frazier.

Expanding the Borders of Travel — Full-Group Panel Discussion
Moderated by Frank Bures, book editor for World Hum and Jockstrap contributor

Would you like to get paid for your travel stories? “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” won’t win an assignment from an editor at a travel publication. What is it about travel that inspires great literary work . . . what do editors look for from travel writers? Moderated by Frank Bures, contributing editor,, editors and experienced writers share their ideas to help increase the possibilities for writing about your trip. You’ll learn how published writers push the borders of a straight travel story into nature writing, food, current events, literary formats, and more. Explore current trends in travel writing and story placement. Learn how to generate salable ideas from your travels; when to call (and when not to call) an editor; how to query editors and get the assignment.

For more information, click here. You can register three ways, by phone (612) 379-8999, online, or in person at the Loft’s offices.