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Annual Writers’ Conference Announces 2020 Keynote Speakers

By Susan Page

The Writers’ Conference is excited to reveal the keynote speakers for our February 2020 event. Registration for the fifteenth annual Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival is now open.

This year’s festival takes place February 12–16, 2020.

For our “coming of age” fifteenth anniversary conference, we will present two authors whose debut novels created an international sensation. Delia Owens’s first novel is the breathtaking, Where the Crawdads Sing. At this writing, it is enjoying its forty-fourth week on the New York Times bestseller list, most of those weeks at number one. And we are thrilled to be able to present Tommy Orange, author of the stunning novel There, There, about the complex lives of 12 “urban Indians” in Oakland, California, all of whom are preparing to participate in an annual Indian powwow. The New York Times said of this novel, “Yes, it really is that good!”

And speaking of coming of age, the National Book Foundation named multiple-award-winning author Valeria Luiselli as one of “five under thirty-five” most accomplished authors. This very week, she was long-listed for the 2019 Booker Prize. She was the subject of a major feature article in Vanity Fair, where they said that her novel, Lost Children Archive, “… is a Great American Novel for our time, a dense and layered novel of the Americas.”

Luiselli will speak to us about “Migrant Stories in the American Border Crisis.” Among her many other travels and activities, she served as an interpreter for young Central American migrants seeking legal status in the United States.

Our poet this year could not be a better fit for our conference. Juan Felipe Herrera was the US Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017. Not only a poet, he is a performer, writer, cartoonist, teacher, and activist. He is the recipient of more than 20 distinguished awards including the National Book Critics Circle award for poetry and LA Times Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement. She is the author of 21 books, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, and young adult novels.

We have long hoped to be able to present one of México’s best-known and best-loved novelists and teachers, Rosa Beltran, and 2020 is our year! Rosa is a novelist, storyteller, essayist, translator, and editor of several literary collections. She has taught at several universities, including UCLA and UNAM, where she is a distinguished professor of literature.

From Canada, we are featuring Madeleine Thien, who has won every prestigious literary award Canada offers, including the Governor General’s award and the Giller Prize. She was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and for Berlin’s International Literature Prize. Her novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, spans the length of China’s modern history, from Mao’s revolution in 1949 to the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s to Tiananmen Square in 1989.

For full information and to register or purchase tickets, visit



San Miguel Writers Conference and Literary Festival presents

Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

Feb 12–16, 2020

Registration and individual ticket sales now open



Delia Owens

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