Loew's Ventana Resort

23rd annual conference
October 26 - 28, 2017

Set in the West: Cultures Old and New

Loew's Ventana Resort

Tucson, Arizona

2017 Conference:
Set in the West: Cultures Old and New

The Women Writing the West annual conference returns to Tucson after 14 years.

Ventana ResortWe convened at Loew’s Ventana Canyon Resort in the Tucson foothills in the lush Sonoran Desert. Set at the foot of soaring cliffs and ringed by saguaro cactus, the resort boasts every amenity including award-winning cuisine, two heated pools and a spa. Tucson has recently been named a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy and the chefs at Ventana Canyon take the challenge seriously. A scenic hiking trail begins at the edge of the property. We have negotiated a conference rate of $139 plus tax for this charming venue.

Meet the attending Agents


Includes schedule, registration information, hotel information and more!

Conference Registration Closed
October 1, 2017

Special Saturday-Only Registration for students of University of Arizona and Pima College. Attend the Saturday October 27th Programs and Workshops. Click Here for Details and Registration. Limited space - first come, first serve.

Ventana Resort Loews Ventana Canyon Resort


Conference Highlights

THURSDAY 2–4 p.m.: New Information: Back on May 30, fire destroyed the historic Ted DeGrazia chapel, an integral part of the DeGrazia studio. And just recently, the gallery lost its tour guide, leaving us no choice but to rearrange our scheduled conference tour. In looking around at the various opportunities available to us in the Tucson area, we came upon the Tucson Desert Art Museum and Four Corners Gallery that we are thrilled to offer as an alternative excursion (http://www.tucsondart.org).

Your tour guide at the Tucson Desert Art Museum will lead you through rooms filled with amazing collections of pre-1940’s Navajo textiles, including chief’s blankets, optical art, saddle blankets, Yei weavings and children's blankets. Hopi artistry is represented with intricate basket weavings and intriguing carvings. You will learn about the teachings of Spider Woman and browse the paintings of early as well as contemporary western artists. And don’t overlook the exhibit of undergarments wore by women pioneers. There are several stations throughout the Museum offering video explanations of the various exhibits. And the Museum gift shop is a wonder to behold, filled with Native jewelry, storytellers, baskets and paintings.

As an added bonus, during the month of October, the Museum is hosting the national American Women Artists juried art show and sale, Under a Vast Sky, with works from outstanding women artists across the United States, Canada and Mexico. AWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the inspiration, celebration and encouragement of women in the visual arts.

Cost of this tour is the same as the DeGrazia trip ($18.00) with your tour coordinator Barbara Marriott overseeing your transportation to and from the Museum. We are sorry for the change in plans but are confident you will be just as delighted with this tour.

THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: Enjoy the Arizona landscape with a tram and walking tour of the Santa Catalina Mountains Sabino Canyon. Take a 50-minute tram ride through pristine Sabino Canyon. Get off the tram at any of nine stops along the way, do a bit of hiking, enjoy the natural beauty of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and pick up the tram on its way back down. Browse through the small natural history museum and gift shop. Loew’s Resort runs transportation throughout the day. $10 tram fee to be paid at Sabino ticket booth.

TOUR GUIDE: Barbara Marriott is your WWW Tour Guide for both the Tucson Desert Art Museum and Four Corners Gallery and Sabino Canyon tours. She will be available at the Registration Desk Thursday, October 26 from 12- 2 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 8- 9 a.m. Tucson Desert Art Museum and Four Corners Gallery tour must be booked in advance but Barbara will help you connect with Loew’s personnel to arrange the Sabino Canyon transportation.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON ROUNDTABLE SESSIONS: 2-5 p.m. Thursday, October 26, 2017. Submissions for the Roundtable Sessions are now closed.
Roundtable Advance Critique: Join one of our guest editors for a group critique session. Submit your first ten manuscript pages in advance and receive critique comments from other participants and the editor. You will be contacted to select the editor best suited to your genre and given instructions for submitting your pages. Requires advance submission, plus reading and critiquing others’ pages. Intended for those comfortable with and open to receiving critique.

THURSDAY EVENING RECEPTION: Kick off the conference with our WILLA Finalists and Winners during an evening of music and readings from their works. The evening begins with the President’s Reception—mingle with WILLA honorees, reconnect with old friends, and welcome new members. Enjoy the melodic violin music of Beth Daunis, a local celebrity who has been playing the violin for 27 years. Beth has performed and recorded with a variety of artists and is noted for her soulful melodies and her ability to fit beautifully into a wide variety of musical settings. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar throughout the evening as we listen to our award-winning authors.

FRIDAY NEWCOMERS BREAKFAST: All new WWW members and first time conference attendees are welcome to the Newcomers Breakfast to be held in the suite of President Linda Jacobs from 8:00-9:00 a.m. Suite number will be provided at a later date.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS & ENTERTAINMENT: Author Meg Files will help us celebrate the LAURA winners at Friday’s luncheon with her talk "Writing What You Know - And Don't". Meg is the author of three novels, a book on writing and numerous published poems. She has been a popular college writing teacher in Tucson for many years. Her work has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, for the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award, and for the National Book Critics Circle Award. At the WILLA Finalist Saturday luncheon, we will be entertained by University of Arizona anthropologist and folklorist Maribel Alvarez, Ph.D., executive program director of Tucson Meet Yourself, an annual festival that celebrates the intersections of food and culture. Maribel will discuss how weaving food into our writing can add depth and authenticity to the story. Saturday’s WILLA Winner Banquet features the music of WWW’s own Amy Hale Auker, 2012 WILLA Award Winner and 2015 WILLA Finalist. With her husband, Gail Steiger, on guitar, Amy will regale us with the music and poetry of the Old West.

THE CONFERENCE: Friday sessions focus on the business of writing as well as panel discussions with editors and agents. Friday dinner is on your own to enjoy the amenities of Loew’s fabulous resort (two swimming pools, discount at the spa, superb dining!) Saturday sessions will concentrate on the art of writing featuring a host of distinguished speakers. Watch the WWW website for additional details.

BOOK SALE & SIGNING EVENT: Our book sale will be handled by Gardner’s Book Service. The bookstore will be open Thursday afternoon, all day Friday and Saturday. The bookstore will be advertised to the general public. The signing event is scheduled for Saturday, 5-6 p.m. prior to the WILLA Banquet and will be held in the bookstore room. Bookstore chair Susan Miller will contact those who indicate an interest in participating (see front of form).

PITCH APPOINTMENTS: A pitch appointment is a ten-minute, one-on-one appointment to pitch your book to an editor or agent or to ask questions of them. Meet the attending editors and agents. You will be contacted to schedule your appointment with an editor/agent for either Friday or Saturday. Contact will be made in the order registrations are received.

RAFFLE: All proceeds support the WILLA Literary Fund. Please support by donating. Contact Raffle Queen Dawn Wink at dawn@dawnwink.com.

REGISTRATION REFUND DEADLINE: September 30, 2017 (No refunds after this date for any reason. No meal changes after September 30. No guaranteed room rate after September 29, 2017.) Conference Registration Closes October 1, 2017.

VOLUNTEERS: No conference runs smoothly without a host of volunteers. Please consider volunteering for part of the conference: Registration desk, obtaining sponsors, publicity, book shop.

Address Conference questions to Conference Co-Chairs Jan Cleere (Jan@JanCleere.com; 520-909-2299) and/or Carolyn Niethammer (cniethammer@outlook.com; 520-622-0252).