The Midwest’s Premiere Writing Event

This is it. This is the big weekend. This year it is to be held at the end of March. We have established ourselves as the Midwest’s premier writing event and look forward to another wonderful year of learning, networking, growing and, for some of us, publishing.
We listen to your suggestions of how to improve this event from year to year. As the director of the Writers’ Institute, I hope you’ll find the new additions to our conference, along with our tried and true events to be beneficial to you and your writing goals. Please peruse this website for the details of all of these events;


New This Year:

The Books That Have Defined Your Life
We are asking speakers, agents and all attendees for the following information; What books have made the biggest difference in your life? Most of us can name a few books that have left a lasting impression on our personal growth and writing paths. There must be 3 or 4 titles that stand tall on your personal bookshelf of favorite books.


Essay Contests:
Transformation at a Writers’ Conference Essay
This year we’re asking attendees to write a 300-word essay telling us about the most transformative experience they have had at a writers’ conference, including past Writers’ Institutes. The winning entry will receive a complimentary registration to this year’s conference. Deadline is February 14th, 2017 and only open to registered attendees of this year’s conference. (The winner’s Registration fee will be refunded). The essay format should be one page, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier font.


Writers’ Institute 2017 Student Essay Contest

If you are a part-time or full-time student within the University of Wisconsin System – you must be enrolled in classes at the undergraduate or graduate level – during the 2016-2017 school year, you are eligible to participate in our contest. In 300 words, tell us why you would like to attend our Writers’ Institute this year. The essay format should be one page, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier font. The winner will receive all of the General Sessions at the Writers’ Institute 2017. If you are a UW student and would like to attend our conference the fee is $99.00. Deadline is February 14th, 2017 – please contact conference director Laurie Scheer at for details.


Master Classes at the Conference
This year we are offering Master Classes with two of our Writing Department Continuing Studies Faculty, Christine DeSmet and Christopher Chambers and with our two keynote speakers, Larry Brooks and Blair Braverman. These are workshops that are limited to 12 writers. The cost is $55.00.
Don’t miss this opportunity to write with these incredibly talented writers.


Binder Hand-out Changes and Guidebook
Your conference information is available via the Guidebook app or you may request hard copies of information and hand-outs. The hard copies may be ordered when you Register for the fee of $25.00. Please order your hard copy package by March 10th, 2017. PDFs will be available on Monday March 20th, 2017. Please print the materials ahead of the conference.


Poem or Page Luncheon
Join us on Saturday as author/actor Coleman reads our contest winners’ selections and our winning essays from this year’s essay contests. First place winners of our Poem or Page Contest will be published in the 2018 issue of The Midwest Review Journal.



Returning This Year:

  • The Second Annual Live Literary Event happens on Saturday.
  • The Third Annual Writing Mixer event happens on Friday – meet your fellow writers, speakers and agents in an informal setting.
  • Advanced Manuscript Critiques – don’t miss this opportunity to work one-on-one with instructors specializing in fiction, nonfiction, book proposals, memoir and other genres.
  • Remember that First Place winning Page or Poem Contest submissions will be included within the 2018 issue of The Midwest Review Journal. Not only will you receive accolades and prizes for this contest, you will also be published in our journal so do not hesitate to submit your work!
  • The fifth edition of the Midwest Review journal premieres at the conference.



Tried & True:

Agent pitches, workshops, book signing event, networking, practice pitch sessions, critiques, and our success panel luncheon.
We here at the Writing Department of Continuing Studies reach out to our community on a daily basis. The Writers’ Institute is just one of many programs we offer to our nearby, national and international writers. We are not only celebrating 28 years of writing, however 28 years of being part of the best writing community in the Midwest. We hope you’ll join us and be part of this community if you haven’t already.

Join our mailing list to receive information about our programs.

We invite all writers to join us – the new, aspiring writer as well as the established writer. Writers of poetry, novels, nonfiction books, scripts, blogs, and freelancers aching to mine the Internet for dollars—we have something for each of you. If you have questions about any of the conference events, email or call me at any time at or (608) 265 3972.
I look forward to meeting all of you and working toward some new and exciting writing horizons as we look forward to the next 28+ years of writing excellence!


Laurie Scheer


Questions? Contact director Laurie Scheer, 608-265-3972, or Laura Kahl, 608-262-3982,