Annual Writing Conference to Take Place

March 19, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The fourth annual Tongue and Ink Undergraduate Writing Conference will take place on Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5. Co-sponsored by Illinois Wesleyan University’s creative arts journal, Tributaries, and Illinois State University’s creative arts journal, Euphemism, the event will feature keynote readings and master classes given by fiction writer Brock Clarke and poet Chelsey Minnis, a variety of sessions and workshops, student readings, and performances by Alvin Lau, Jennifer L. Knox, Danielle Pafunda, and Shanna Compton.

All conference events are free and open to the public.  Registration information is available at the Tongue and Ink Web site,  A registration and check-in table will be in the Hansen Student Center (300 E. Beecher St., Bloomington) from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.

The conference events will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday in Hansen with a question and answer session featuring Clarke, winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and a Walter Dakin Fellowship.  An associate professor of English at the University of Cincinnati, Clarke is the author of four books including An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England.  Clark will give a reading from Arsonist’s Guide at 7 p.m. on Friday in Hansen.

Immediately following Clarke’s reading, at 8:30 p.m. in Hansen, will be a poetry slam and performance by nationally-ranked slam competitor Lau, sponsored by IWU performance group, Lyrical Graffiti.  Lau is a two-time Chicago youth poetry slam champion, two-time national youth poetry slam champion, the Grand Slam Champion of both the Mental Graffiti poetry slam and the Green Mill Poetry Slam, the Midwest regional poetry slam champion, and a three-time individual finalist at the National Poetry Slam.  He has appeared on Amnesty International's Spoken Word Tour and HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

Saturday’s events will start with a master class on ars poetica, given by Minnis in the Cartwright Room of Memorial Center (104 E. University St., Bloomington).  Author of the Alberta Prize-winning Zirconia, Bad Bad, and the upcoming release, Poemland, Minnis lives in Boulder, Co.  She will also give a reading at 4:30 p.m. in Hansen.

Also reading on Saturday, at 10:30 a.m. in the Davidson Room of Memorial Center will be poets Shanna Compton, Danielle Pafunda, and Jennifer L. Knox.  Compton was an associate publisher and director of publicity at Soft Skull until 2007 and is the author of For Girls (& Others) and Down Spooky; Pafunda is the co-editor of La Petite Zine and author of My Zorba and Pretty Young Thing; Knox, who has taught poetry at New York University and Hunter College of The City University of New York, is the author of Drunk By Noon and A Gringo Like Me.  The reading is sponsored by the Illinois State University Pierre Bourdieu Memorial Reading Series and Mandorla: New Writing From the Americas. 

Rounding out Saturday afternoon will be workshops, sessions, and panel discussions on comedy writing, song writing, M.F.A. programs, ekphrastic writing, community poetry, and horror writing, all of which will be held in the Memorial Center between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Tongue and Ink events will conclude at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Hansen with the release of the Spring 2008 issue of Tributaries and student readings from those published in Tributaries, Euphemism, and Tongue and Ink’s online publication.

For additional information about or to register for Tongue and Ink, visit  Questions may also be directed to Tributaries Co-Editors Ann Erickson or Jessica Block at

Contact: Jessica Block ‘09, (309) 556-3181