The Sun Valley Writers' Conference

Sporting Events
Fri, Aug 17, 2012 (All day) to Mon, Aug 20, 2012 (All day)

**Single-Event Tickets still Available **

The Sun Valley Writers’ Conference will celebrate its 17th annual gathering of readers and writers from August 17th through the 20th in Sun Valley, Idaho. Some of the country’s—and the world’s—best writers and thinkers will freely exchange ideas, concerns, hopes, and aspirations.  The 2012 conference is sold out with the exception of tickets for 2 conference presentations.

A limited number of single-event tickets to the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference sessions with Paul Hendrickson and Jennifer Homans are still available for $35 each (cash or check only) at Iconoclast Books or Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum prior to August 17th. Starting Friday, August 17th you may purchase the tickets at the Writers’ Conference Single Event Ticket desk at the East Entrance of the Sun Valley Pavilion.

JENNIFER HOMANS             Sunday, Aug. 19        3:45-4:45pm   Sun Valley Pavilion

Apollo’s Angels: Why Ballet Matters

At its origins, ballet was an aristocratic etiquette and a political event as much as it was an art. Jennifer Homans will take us from the French court of Louis XIV to Imperial St. Petersburg and Stalin’s Russia. Why was Louis XIV so obsessed with ballet and how did this French art become Russian, giving us ballets like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker? How did it survive the Russian Revolution and come to represent the USSR at home and abroad during the cultural Cold War? A historian who was herself a professional dancer, Homans will talk and dance her lecture.

JENNIFER HOMANS is the author of APOLLO’S ANGELS: A HISTORY OF BALLET, which was a 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and named one of the ten best books by The New York Times Book Reviewand the Los Angeles Times. Homans is The New Republic dance critic and a distinguished scholar in residence at New York University, where she earned her PhD in Modern European History and teaches cultural history.

PAUL HENDRICKSON          Sunday, Aug. 19        5:15-6:15pm   Sun Valley Pavilion

Amid So Much Ruin, Still the Beauty: A Search for Ernest Hemingway

The boat in journalist Paul Hendrickson’s memorable portrait of Ernest Hemingway in his later years is Pilar, the 38-foot fishing vessel that lasted through three wives, the Nobel Prize, and Hemingway’s ultimate ruin. The seven years that Hendrickson spent on the book took him from Havana and Key West to Oak Park and Sun Valley. He will talk about how his book was never, in any conventional sense, intended to be a Hemingway biography, but rather an effort to come to a modest understanding of one writer’s complicated life through the narrative lens of something in the material world he loved very much – something that elevated both his soul and his art.

PAUL HENDRICKSON, a University of Pennsylvania English professor and former prize-winning feature writer for The Washington Post, is the author of five books, including HEMINGWAY’S BOAT: EVERYTHING HE LOVED IN LIFE, AND LOST, 1934-1961, a 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Hendrickson, who wrote for magazines and newspapers for thirty years before his appointment at Penn, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize six times during his years at The Post. For his well-loved workshops in advanced nonfiction at Penn, Hendrickson received the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2005.

This year’s rich and diverse group of Sun Valley presenters also includes:


  • Walter Isaacson (talking about Steve Jobs)
  • Tom Brokaw (talking about America’s future)
  • Dublin-born poet, playwright, and novelist Sebastian Barry
  • Celebrated pianist and dance-band leader Peter Duchin
  • Correspondent for The Atlantic, author, and NPR news analyst James Fallows
  • Editor and historian S.C. Gwynne
  • Debut novelist Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding
  • Biologist, ecologist, author of 24 books, and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes E.O. Wilson
  • Physician, Stanford professor of medicine, and author Abraham Verghese
  • Bosnian-born author of The Lazarus Project and three collections of short stories Aleksandar Hemon
  • Palestinian-American author of seven collections of poetry Naomi Shihab Nye
  • British-born memoirist Alexandra Fuller

If you would like to receive updates and information about next year’s conference, please email to be placed on the mailing list.The Sun Valley Writers’ Conference is a nonprofit organization that always includes scholarship students and admits teachers and students free of charge. For more information, please visit




All images are the property of Barbi Reed and Sun Valley Writers' Conference

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