By Robert Bradley
The Third annual Cuenca International Writers Conference, sponsored by the non-profit Foundation of Literature of the Americas, kicks off Monday, May 28 and continues through Friday, June 1, with five days of workshops, and social and cultural events.
The conference is the project of the city’s expat writers community and will bring dozens of English-speaking foreign writers to Cuenca.
The CIWC will be headquartered this year in one of Cuenca’s few remaining colonial buildings, Escuela Central, originally constructed in 1584. The building, one block north of Parque Calderon, has a long and, dare I say, storied past, often associated with the changing dynamics of the city. It was originally a hospital, served as a school for girls and, most recently, was inaugurated as, Museo de la Ciudad in October 2015, following a two-year, multi-million dollar renovation.
Although the structure is first-rate and up-to-date, its past is clearly visible, including the resting place of several early residents, whose skeletons, covered in glass, are readily available for viewing.
Conference President Lynne Klippel notes that in this year of the Cuenca International Writers Conference, the focus is on providing writers with inspiration, connection, and ways to enhance their craft. Speakers from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop and other visiting authors will provide information on the craft of writing and publishing.
“We’ve added some terrific opportunities for participants to network with the speakers and other attendees,” Klippel adds. “We have discussion groups based on genres, a contest for the best beginning lines, and a public book fair and signing on Friday from 12-2.”
The conference is also reaching out to the community by sponsoring scholarships for students from the Universities of Cuenca and Azuay, hosting a night of poetry reading in Spanish and English in tandem with CEDEI, and holding “A Taste of Cuenca” networking fair featuring a fashion show, food tasting, and displays by local artisans.
For further information, please visit the Cuenca International Writer’s Conference website, cuencawritersconference.com