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Writers’ Conference Announces Selection for the Big Read

By Susan Page


Every year, the Writers’ Conference hosts the San Miguel Big Read, inviting everyone in town to read the same book by one of the Conference keynote speakers. We invite all readers to join one of many Big Read discussion groups around town. We provide discussion questions, present a program to provide background information on the book and the author, and invite all discussion group participants to meet the author in person at a private reception.

We are excited to announce that the Big Read selection for the 2019 conference will be The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland. By selecting this juicy novel about seventeenth-century France, we are spotlighting historical fiction, currently one of the most popular genres in literature. Since Gulland is a prolific writer, readers who enjoy the novel will be able to turn to other enthralling Gulland novels, including her beloved trilogy about Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Shadow Queen is a spellbinding novel inspired by the true story of a young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative, and dangerous woman in the seventeenth-century French court: the mistress of the charismatic “Sun King.” Louis the Fourteenth ruled France for seventy-two years, from 1643 to 1715, the longest reign of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history.

For most of us who never mastered the intricacies of French history in high school, or never studied it at all, this richly detailed portrait of life in the French court under the rule of Louis XIV will thrust us into an absorbing world, described by an extraordinarily talented writer. It is such an outstanding example of historical fiction that it may open up other alluring worlds to readers who have never ventured into the genre before.

Registration and Tickets Available Now

Registration for the Fourteenth Annual San Miguel International Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival, February 13–17, 2019, is underway now, with full information and online registration and ticket sales available online at

Sandra Gulland will present her keynote address on Thursday, February 14, at 2pm in the ballroom of the Real de Minas hotel. Her address is part of our new “Pleasures of Reading” registration package, as well as part of the Full Conference and Whole Enchilada packages. It is also available by single-ticket purchase.

The other keynote speakers for the Conference include Susan Orlean, who writes both fiction and nonfiction; Adam Gopnik, staff writer for The New Yorker; Paul Theroux, author of numerous novels and travel books; Cristina Rivera Garza, one of México’s finest writers; and Jennifer Clement, poet, novelist, and president of International PEN.

The 2019 conference includes three brand-new not-to-be-missed features: the Corazdón de México Fiesta, “The Interviews,” and the fabulous “Literary Death Match.” All details are on the website. Seating is limited for some of these events, so we encourage early registration.



San Miguel Writers Conference and Literary Festival

February 13–17, 2019

Conference announces this year’s Big Read selection:

The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

Registration and individual ticket sales now open



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