At SVWC we are proud to call the Sun Valley area home.
We work closely with other members of the community, collaborating with the area’s schools, libraries, and other nonprofit organizations.
Please read more about our community initiatives and outreach efforts below.
(NOTE: Some of our outreach programs are on hold for 2021. Thank you for your patience and understanding.)
SVWC is proud to offer scholarships to budding authors and readers in our valley and across the U.S.
Local Student Scholarships
Each year, as part of its Eye on the Future Project, SVWC asks the Language Arts teachers at each of the five local high schools to nominate one junior/senior for scholarship selection. Students are invited to submit an essay describing why they would benefit from attending the Conference, and a panel made up of SVWC staff & board members then chooses three of those students to receive full Conference passes, which include all talks, breakouts, and meals.
Students chosen demonstrate academic excellence and a true love of learning, along with a desire to share their knowledge with others, giving us all hope for a better future. The recipients are also chosen based on the belief that hearing SVWC talks by important literary thinkers will help develop and shape the students as they embark on a future path and evolve into important voices for humanity.
Fulfillment Fund Scholarships
In conjunction with the Fulfillment Fund, a Los Angeles nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the performance and potential of young people, SVWC offers scholarships to six remarkable young adults, who have been chosen through a competitive selection process.
The Fulfillment Fund works to make college a reality for students growing up in educationally and economically under-resourced communities. Its services build pathways to college, help students navigate educational barriers, create life-changing support networks, and empower future leaders.
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, SVWC is also proud to offer two local scholarships each year. A full pass, under the Barbara and Jim Cimino Scholarship, is awarded annually to the Executive Director of The Community Library. In addition, a full pass is awarded each year to a local teacher through the Gary Hunt Scholarship in his memory.
**NOTE: Due to limited capacity in order to meet COVID-19 safety protocols, there will not be scholarships for the 2021 Conference. We will miss students this summer and look forward to bringing scholarships back when the pandemic has subsided.
Local School Initiatives
SVWC, in conjunction with local high school teachers, chooses an author and book with a topic pertinent to high school students. SVWC donates 50 copies of the book for students in the spring/summer Language Arts classes. All five high schools in Blaine County are included – Sage School, Wood River High School, Sun Valley Community School, Carey High School, and Silver Creek Alternative School. The students read the book and are invited to attend any of the talks given by that writer during the Conference, including Pavilion talks or smaller breakouts.
The students are also invited to join the writer at a luncheon hosted by SVWC in July during the Conference. In 2019, the featured author was Dave Eggers, who discussed his book, The Circle. Past authors have included Colson Whitehead discussing The Underground Railroad, and Karan Mahajan and his novel, The Association of Small Bombs.
*This program will not take place for the 2021 Conference due to COVID-19 safety protocols. We look forward to its return post-pandemic.
Fall School Speaker
In the fall of 2019, SVWC brought celebrated middle grade author, Pablo Cartaya, to the Wood River Valley to visit the area’s schools and speak to students and teachers, free of charge. He spoke to nearly 800 students at the Wood River Middle School and, in collaboration with The Community Library and Iconoclast Books, also gave a free presentation and book signing in the library’s Lecture Hall.
“Thank you for sharing your story with us. I appreciate that you’re encouraging students to learn their story and to get engaged with their family roots. Now it’s my time to find my story.” – WRMS 6th Grader, Thank You Note to Pablo Cartaya
“Thank you for coming to our school and giving the most awesome book talk ever! I really liked the way you told the stories – it made me laugh so hard I almost cried. Not lying.” – WRMS 7th Grader, Thank You Note to Pablo Cartaya
“Thank you for giving us your story. I have always thought authors of books are celebrities, but you reminded me that they are just ordinary people who have done extraordinary things.” – WRMS 6th Grader, Thank You Note to Pablo Cartaya
Free Student/Teacher Talks
As a part of our Eye on the Future Project and in an effort to share the Writers’ Conference with our community, local students and teachers are invited to attend Pavilion talks for free, as space is available. For 2021, students and teachers are invited to join Pavilion talks by reserving a pod on the lawn ahead of time. Unfortunately, due to limited capacity within the Pavilion for safe spacing, there will be no student or teacher seating.
Free Lawn Talks
Since 2014, SVWC has offered a selection of evening talks to the public on the Pavilion lawn at no charge during the weekend of the Conference at the Sun Valley Resort. The local community is invited to attend these four free events, with talks broadcast live to the Pavilion lawn big screen.
Past Lawn Talk presenters have included Ayad Akhtar, David Brooks, Shaun Donovan, Jeanne Gang, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Jeffrey Toobin, Simon Winchester, and Fareed Zakaria. The 2019 Lawn Talks featured Alice McDermott, Andrew Roberts, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, and Mitch Landrieu.
For the 2021 Conference, lawn talks have expanded to three talks per day – one each morning, and two in the late afternoon – for a total of twelve free talks. In order to ensure the safety of our community, lawn seating will be available in pods, which can be reserved online ahead of time. Please stay tuned for more information on how to reserve a pod for this summer’s talks.
Single Event Tickets
Every year, SVWC offers individual tickets to a selection of Pavilion talks for purchase. Members of the local community are given priority during the sale of these tickets.
*NOTE: Single Event Tickets will not be available for the 2021 Conference due to limited seating in the Pavilion to ensure safe spacing for our attendees. Please join us on the lawn for this summer, and we look forward to welcoming you back into the Pavilion when it is safe to do so.
In a new program started in 2019, SVWC brings a speaker to the Wood River Valley each fall to speak with local schools and offer a free talk to the public. This year’s speaker was Pablo Cartaya, acclaimed middle grade author, who offered a free talk for the public at the Community Library.
SVWC’s Fellows Program includes two fellows from Boise State University’s Creative Writing MFA Department. These fellows join two fellows from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop – aspiring writers, early in their careers, who have been recommended by the faculty of their institutions. They are treated at Conference as writers, which gives them an opportunity to interact and learn from more established writers.
*NOTE: Due to limited seating capacity in order to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, this program will not happen for the 2021 Conference. We look forward to having our SVWC Fellows back when it is safe to gather in larger groups again.
Local Libraries Collaboration
Community Library Talk
Each year, SVWC partners with The Community Library in Ketchum to host a free lecture for the local community around the time of the conference. The 2019 library speaker was Barry Lopez. Other past speakers have included Imbolo Mbue, Adam Johnson, Firoozeh Dumas, and Jamaica Kincaid. For 2021, SVWC’s partnership with The Community Library has expanded to include four free evening talks in July, which will take place outdoors at the library. For more information, please visit our Summer Speaker Series page.
For many years, SVWC has invited local librarians to attend Pavilion talks for free. The Community Library, Hailey Public Library, and Bellevue Public Library each receive tickets to share amongst their staff.
*Due to limited capacity to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, the librarian pass program is on hold for 2021. We invite our local librarians to participate by reserving a pod for the lawn talks or by attending our Summer Speaker Series.
Partnership with Boise State Bookstore
For the last several years, the Boise State University Bookstore, a nonprofit entity, has managed the bookstore at the Conference, with 100% of the profits going toward the BSU Readers and Writers Scholarship. The scholarship encourages intellectual growth for readers and writers in higher education.
Since 2016, over $67,000 has been donated to the program through the SVWC Bookstore.
Support Our Mission
Your support allows us to bring these programs to life.