Department of English
Young Writers' Conference
Hosted by the Department of English and the Creative Writing Program at California State University, Fresno.
This year's event:
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In-person: Satellite Student Union
Online: Zoom (webinar access)
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Friday, April 8, 2022
Keynote Speaker: Author Kristen Radtke
Kristen Radtke is the author of the graphic memoirs Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (2021) and Imagine Wanting Only This (2017). She is the art director of The Verge.
The recipient of a Whiting Creative Nonfiction grant, her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, Elle, Vanity Fair, Vogue, NPR, and elsewhere.
Each spring since 1980, the Department of English and the Creative Writing Program host the Young Writers’ Conference for area high school students, with support from the College of Arts and Humanities and more than a dozen campus and community sponsors.
The conference provides a valuable opportunity for young writers to hear a professional author read their work and answer questions about the creative writing process and profession. It also allows young writers to meet and interact with other student writers from across Central California, to get a taste of what a university-level writing workshop might be like, and to get feedback on their own writing.
Our department’s graduate students, as part of their commitment to community service, teach the creative writing workshops. Our undergraduate editing and publishing students serve as the editorial board of the conference’s youth journal, Spectrum, which celebrates the best work submitted by participating schools.
The conference also provides excellent training and an opportunity for an exchange of ideas among creative writing and English teachers. The conference stands as an excellent example of an ongoing collaborative effort between local school districts and the university.
By registering for the event, participants agree to comply with all health and safety protocols required by the campus and event organizers. These protocols are subject to change, depending on local health conditions.
Health screening tool: All guests are required to complete the Daily Health Screening Questionnaire in advance of coming to campus. If the screening questionnaire results in the guest receiving a Red X, the guest should not attend.
Face coverings: Regardless of vaccination status, all guests and members of the campus community are required to wear a surgical mask or better (e.g. N95, KN95, KF94) when indoors and in crowded outdoor areas, in accordance with campus requirements.
Physical distancing: Best efforts should be made to accommodate at least six feet of physical distance whenever guests remove their face covering to drink or eat.
Reporting illness: If guests become ill within two (2) days after the event, they must notify the event organizers right away. The organizers will then contact the campus Office of Environmental Health and Safety/Risk Management.
Help at the venue: The organizers will make hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes available for general use. There will be a limited supply of surgical masks.
Registration deadline: April 8, 2022
Registration: We accept registration between Feb. 7 and April 8. Payment arrangements are required by April 8 and will be accepted no later than conference day. Registration includes admission to the morning awards and keynote sessions, and afternoon workshop. It includes a copy of our youth journal, Spectrum. In-person participants also receive a box lunch.
Payment for in-person participants: Cost to attend on campus is $15 per participant, both for students and for teachers. This covers lunch and supplies. Payment should be completed as early as possible. Payment options are by purchase order, by check, or online with a credit card. Let us know if you have payment questions.
Payment for online participants: This year, there is no registration fee for online participants.
Registration limit: The conference is open to students from 9th to 12th grades, with a limit of 20 students and 4 teachers per school. Please use a selection method that will allow your most talented and motivated students to attend.
Register now: Early registration provides time to adequately prepare for materials and meals. This year, there will be no late registration permitted.
Refunds: A refund may be granted with an emailed request by April 18. No other refunds can be granted.
Please note that photography and filming will be taking place at this event for promotional and archival purposes; photos and video will likely appear on our website. By registering, participants consent to this documentation. If you would prefer to opt out, let the organizers know.
Please provide a complete roster of all participants, both students and teachers, by April 8, 2022.
Each conference participant attends one workshop in the Afternoon Session. All workshops this year will be taught in a multigenre style. We will attempt to keep full school delegations together, including teachers, for covid-19 safety reasons.
We will do our best to honor box lunch sandwich preferences. Please also let us know if you have participants with additional dietary needs.
For payment questions, contact email@example.com or 559.278.1569.
Check payments sent to:
5150 N. Maple Ave., JA58
Fresno, CA 93740
Checks payable to: Fresno State
With memo: English - Young Writers
LET US KNOW IF YOU NEED A FORMAL INVOICE or a link to pay online by credit card.
PLEASE EMAIL A COPY OF YOUR P.O. to firstname.lastname@example.org
Manuscript submission deadline: March 1, 2022
An important part of the conference is the publication of our youth journal, Spectrum. All participating students are encouraged to submit works of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama to be considered. Select manuscripts will receive awards.
We will accept manuscripts electronically from Feb. 7 through March 1. This allows us time for reading and judging, as well as layout and printing of the anthology.
Email manuscripts to: YWCsubmissions@mail.fresnostate.edu
- Teachers are responsible for ensuring that students submit original work.
- Include in subject line: 1. genre, 2. author's name, 3. school.
- Include in the document, upper left corner of the first page: 1. genre, 2. author’s name, 3. school, 4. grade, and 5. the teacher’s name.
- Must be .doc or .docx format.
- No graphics or unusual fonts.
- Limit: 3 poems and/or 2 works of prose (please limit prose pieces to 7 pages each).
Only a limited number of submissions can be published.
Location: Satellite Student Union, Fresno State
- 8:15 - 9:00 — Registration
- 9:00 - 9:45 — Welcome and awards presentations
- 9:45 - 10:45 — Morning session, feat. keynote speaker
- 10:45 - 11:45 — Lunch
- 12:00 - 2:00 — Afternoon session, feat. workshops
Campus map: FresnoState.edu/map
Event-day questions: Call 559.278.1569.
Parking: Participants can receive a one-day free parking pass from kiosks at most university entrances using a coupon code (to come). Parking recommended in Lots P5 or P6. Buses may drop students at the Satellite Student Union.
Registration area: Teachers can pick up conference packets on the day of the event outside the Satellite Student Union entrance.
Online access: Several days before the conference, each school’s lead teacher will be emailed the Zoom links to share with online participants. Morning sessions will be webinar style; afternoon session will be meeting style. (link to online access)
Prof. Tanya Nichols (email)
Jefferson Beavers (email)
Young Writers' Conference
Fresno State, English Department
5245 N. Backer Ave., PB98
Fresno, CA 93740-8001
Call - 559.278.1569
Fax - 559.278.7143
Peters Business Building
Past Conference Journals
The conference's youth journal, Spectrum, celebrates the best creative writing submitted by area schools.
Past Keynote Speakers
If you have information on past keynote speakers, please contact our admin staff.
Nic Stone (2021)
Naomi Shihab Nye (2020)
Maceo Montoya (2019)
Mai Der Vang (2018)
Kristin FitzPatrick (2017)
Aimee Nezhukumatathil (2016)
Elena Passarello (2015)
Steve Yarbrough (2014)
Gary Jackson (2013)
Liza Wieland (2012)
Alex Espinoza (2011)
Tim Z. Hernandez (2010)
Steven Church (2009)
Mona Simpson (2008)
David Mas Masumoto (2006)
David Dominguez (2004)
John Hales (2003)
David Borofka (2002)
Juan Felipe Herrera and Margarita Luna Robles (1995)
Liza Wieland (1994)
C. G. Hanzlicek (1992)
Corrinne Clegg Hales (1991)
Steve Yarbrough (1990)
Sherley Anne Williams (1989)
Gary Soto (1988)
Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1986)
James D. Houston
To donate, contact the conference coordinator