The Midwest Writing Center (MWC) is thrilled to announce that the annual David R. Collins Writers’ Conference will move forward in an all-virtual format June 25-27 for its 15th year. Registration is open now.

Attendees will hone their craft in intensive three-day workshops, but will also have the option to participate in book pitches, a faculty reading, and a keynote address featuring author and columnist Lyz Lenz.

David R. Collins Writers Conference Starts Thursday In Virtual FormatLenz will appear at a special livestream event on Thursday, June 25, and will lead a virtual master class on Friday, June 26, both entitled “Writing for Change.”

Lyz Lenz’s writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book God Land was published in 2019, through Indiana University Press. Her second book Belabored is due out from Bold Type Books on August. Lyz’s essay “All the Angry Women” was also included in the anthology Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay. Lyz received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She is a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

This year’s conference offers five three-day workshops, led by a faculty of accomplished faculty members, and, like Lenz, returning Conference favorites:

“Crafting Small Fictions” with Misty Urban

“Foundational Elements of the Novel” with Kali White VanBaale

“Begin Anywhere: Making New Poems” with Rebecca Wee

“The Business of Writing: Edit, Polish, Query, Submit” with Misty Urban and Kali White VanBaale

“Gymnastics for Memorists” with Felicia Schneiderhan

Complete course descriptions as well as bios for the Conference’s distinguished faculty are available on the MWC website:

Legacy Book Press and MWC Press will be hearing manuscript pitches during the Conference; if you are interested in scheduling a pitch session, please contact the MWC in advance; 10-minute sessions are $15. These fill up quickly, so don’t delay in signing up if you’re interested.

David R. Collins Writers Conference Starts Thursday In Virtual FormatTo supplement the Conference, the MWC will be hosting two events that will be free and open to the public; Conference participants can tune in via Zoom, or the events will be available via livestream on MWC’s YouTube channel as well:

DRC Conference Keynote Address, featuring Lyz Lenz, columnist for The Gazette (Cedar Rapids) and author of GOD LAND and BELABORED – Thursday, June 25, 7:00 p.m. CST via Zoom and YouTube. Please RSVP for Zoom password to

  • Faculty Reading and Participant Open Mic – Friday, June 26, 7:00 p.m. CST via Zoom and YouTube. Please RSVP for Zoom password to | Listen to conference faculty reading their work and then, the mic will be opened up for reading by conference participants.

The David R. Collins Writers’ Conference offers quality writing instruction at affordable prices with a dash of Midwest hospitality. Register today through PayPal at the MWC website (, over the phone (309-732-7330), or via email (

The 2020 David R. Collins Writers’ Conference is made possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and grantors: Modern Woodmen of America, Founding Sponsor; the Regional Development Authority; Illinois Humanities; the Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the St. Ambrose University English Department; the Figge Art Museum; and Rozz-Tox.


David R. Collins Writers Conference Starts Thursday In Virtual Format
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.