The Midwest Writing Center’s David R. Collins Writers’ Conference will be held Thursday to Saturday (June 23-25) in a hybrid format — both by Zoom and in person at Rock Island Public Library, 401 19th St.

Cost is $85 per individual workshop; $260 for the full conference (3 workshops + Master Class); $75 registration fee.

The conference will host participants at the Rock Island Public Library for those who want to attend workshops in-person, but all workshops will be available remotely via Zoom. Some of the instructors will be in-person, while others (including the keynote and the master class) will be leading their workshops remotely via zoom.

MWC staff will be online to facilitate the Zoom and in-person to help with tech and make sure the hybrid format runs smoothly. For those attending in person, masks are encouraged.

The conference keynote speaker will be Ross Gay, at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23. The virtual event and reception will be at the Figge Art Museum (225 W. 2nd St., Davenport), and you can see a livestream on YouTube and Facebook.

Please RSVP for the password to

Author Ross Gay (wearing a T-shirt saying “Poetry Is Not a Luxury”) is the conference keynote speaker, Thursday at 7 p.m.

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against WhichBringing the Shovel DownBe Holding; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His new poem, Be Holding, was released from the University of Pittsburgh Press in September of 2020. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019.

Gay is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Rosechard Wehrenberg, of the chapbook, “River.”

He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.

Gay is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He also works on The Tenderness Project with Shayla Lawson and Essence London. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Gay teaches at Indiana University.  

He will conduct a master class online at noon Friday, June 24, on writing, nature, and life.

Conference faculty readings will be via Zoom and YouTube on Friday, June 24, at 7 p.m. Listen to conference faculty reading their work and support MWC friends and partners Rozz-Tox, where the center usually hosts this and many other events every year. Free and open to the public.

Writers can have up to 10 pages of a manuscript reviewed in a 1-on-1 meeting (30 minutes) with the instructor during the conference (meetings scheduled between instructor and writer in advance of, or during, the conference for their convenience and to avoid schedule conflicts). Critiques are $50 and will be offered by Chuy Renteria, Jennifer Colville, and LaTanya McQueen.

Writers can also have 10 minutes to pitch their book to Legacy Book Press, MWC Press, and/or Pearl City Press. Pitch times will be scheduled with authors in advance of the Conference. Cost is $15, and pre-registration is required.

For more information on the conference schedule and faculty, click HERE.