Carbon County Pen & Ink Writer's Conference

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 The Writer’s Conference has been postponed due to the weather.

Stay tuned for a new date!



 Carbon County Higher Education Center

(307) 328-9274

Career & Technical Education Center, 1650 Harshman Street, Rawlins, WY 82301


 Click here to view the schedule of events or here to download a registration form

EDUCATORS: .5 PTSB credit available!



2016 Presenters


Keynote Speaker: Carrie Visintainer

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Carrie Visintainer is the author of Wild Mama: One Woman's Quest to Live Her Best Life, Escape Traditional Parenthood, and Travel the World.
Her articles and essays have appeared in print or online at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Outside, Backpacker, 5280, and in various Travelers' Tales "The Best Women's Travel Writing" anthologies. She lives with her husband and two young kids in Colorado, and for a few months each winter, they travel to off-the-beaten path places, where they "roadschool" their kids.

Wild MamaWild Mama:

When Carrie Visintainer became a mother at the age of 32, she worried it was all over, that her adventurous life was done. World travel? Adios. Solo explorations in the mountains? Ciao. Creative outlets? She wondered, Are diapers my new white canvas? Immersed in a whirlwind of sleeplessness and spit-up, she was madly in love with her new baby, yet also felt her adventurous spirit and core identity crumbling.

So she laced up her boots and set out on a soul-searching journey, with revelations near and far. Inside a local Walmart, she realized that new motherhood is like traveling to a foreign country, with a new vocabulary, unknowable customs and extreme jetlag. Lying in a yurt in the Colorado forest, she came to terms with her postpartum depression. While sailing on a gulet off the coast of Turkey, she examined feelings of guilt about leaving her child in pursuit of adventure. And then, while perched in a handsome stranger’s motorcycle sidecar in the Mexican jungle, she found herself face-to-face with her central quandary: Domesticity vs. Wanderlust. Finally she discovered she could—and should—have both.


                            Jeff Lockwood


Jeffrey Lockwood earned a Ph.D. in entomology from Louisiana State University. He worked for 15 years as an insect ecologist at the University of Wyoming, publishing more than 100 scientific papers and pioneering a method of IPM for rangeland grasshoppers. In 2003, he metamorphosed into a Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities in the department of philosophy where he teaches environmental ethics and philosophy of ecology, and in the program in creative writing where he is the director and teaches workshops in non-fiction. He has published three collections of environmental/spiritual essays through Skinner House. His other books include: Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier (Basic, 2004), Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War (Oxford, 2008), Philosophical Foundations for the Practices of Ecology (Cambridge, 2010), and The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe and Love Insects (Oxford, 2013). His work has been honored with a Pushcart Prize, the John Burroughs award and inclusion in the Best American Science and Nature Writing.

His current projects are a book on the ways in which the energy industry as censored science, art and education (Behind the Carbon Curtain, UNM Press, 2016) and a noir mystery novel featuring an ex-cop-turned-exterminator (Poisoned Justice, Pen-L Press, 2016).


                                     Tom Rea

Tom Rae

Tom Rea lives in Casper, Wyo., where he is editor and co-founder, with the Wyoming State Historical Society, of He worked for many years in the newspaper business, and his books include Bone Wars: The Excavation and Celebrity of Andrew Carnegie’s Dinosaur(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001, 2004); Devil’s Gate: Owning the Land, Owning the Story (University of Oklahoma Press, 2006, 2012); The Hole in the Wall Ranch: A History (Pronghorn Press, 2010). 


                   Barbara Smith

Barbara Smith 2

Barbara Smith is professor emeritus at Western Wyoming Community College.  Her poetry and essays have been published in collections such as Wyoming Fence Lines, Deep West, A Literary Tour of Wyoming,  Leaning Into the Wind, Woven on the Wind, Crazy Woman Creek, The Last Best Place, Ucross: the 1st Ten Years, Letters from Wyoming, and Drive, He Said among others.
Smith received the Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing award for nature writing in 2008, the Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award in 2006, the Wyoming Arts Council Literary Fellowship in 1990,  and a residency at Ucross.
A graduate of Montana State University and the University of South Dakota, Smith taught English and creative writing at WWCC for 38 years, also serving as chair of the Humanities Division for 17 years.
For many years, Smith has been teaching a memoir writing workshop with WWCC for the Sweetwater County community. Also in collaboration with publisher Holly Dabb of the DailyRocket Miner, she and her students have published a series of memoirs each Sunday in the “Remember When” section of the newspaper. 


                                                  Rick Kempa

RK with MarcoBorn in Chicago, Rick Kempa moved west in 1974 to attend St. John’s College in Santa Fe. After a several-year career as a hitchhiker and oddjobsman, he enrolled at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he earned an MFA in 1987. Since 1988, he has lived with his wife Fern in Rock Springs, where they raised their two children. He teaches writing and philosophy and directs the Honors Program at Western Wyoming Community College. He is an avid backpacker, with a special love for Grand Teton and Grand Canyon national parks.
Rick has authored two books of poems, Ten Thousand Voices, published by Littoral Press in 2013, and Keeping the Quiet, published in 2008 by Bellowing Ark Press. He has also edited two anthologies, On Foot: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories (Vishnu Temple Press 2014) and, with Peter Anderson, Going Down Grand: Poems from the Grand Canyon (Lithic Press, 2015). His poems and essays have appeared in over a hundred journals, magazines, and e-zines. For more info, please see


Dave Throgmorton



Dave Throgmorton has written regular columns for newspapers for over ten years. He selects topics that are interesting to him and tries to make them interesting to others as well, often infusing them with enough of an edge that readers need to think about it before they agree or disagree. Dave has been a college professor, academic dean and vice president; he writes every day whether he wants to or not. His favorite quote about writing comes from E.M. Forester: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”








                               George Vlastos

George Vlastos

George Vlastos is a multi-genre writer whose workshops and presentations range from “the mythic processions of community and culture” to “the processes necessary to move from thought to written expression.” He has been the featured artist at the WyoPoets Annual Conference as well as the recipient of the Neltje Blanchan Fellowship awarded to a writer whose work, in any genre, has been influenced by nature. Recently he has finished a creative memoir, Pin~Heads, about his travels among the monasteries of the Holy Mountain of northern Greece.
Mr. Vlastos received a BA in English & Fiction Writing from Stanford University and an MFA from the University of Wyoming in Poetry & Environment and Natural Resources. Currently he teaches Language Arts at the Star Lane Center, a problem-based high school program in Casper focused on integrating curriculum around both regional and global issues. He is also a part-time Cretan villager where his family raises olives and produces olive oil.









 Workshop Descriptions


Cost for Workshop is $50 including evening reception, a catered lunch and selection of concurrent workshops.

Students will receive a $25 scholarship towards the cost of the workshop.


Click here to download a registration form or call 328-9274 to register.