I have just returned from the Sun Valley Writer’s Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. It is my favorite weekend of the year and I have been going for nearly twenty years. Each year I learn so much and grow intellectually from it. I spent Friday evening with the brilliant Walter Isaacson, head of the Aspen Institute, talking about his wonderful book on Steve Jobs where I learned that Steve would stare at people without blinking insisting that they could do the impossible.
Speaker Tom Brokaw talked about how, in prior generations, there was a single news source which was fairly accurate in terms of the facts and information received. Now, in today’s world, there are so many sources of news, blogs, and information just thrown at us that it is so difficult to ascertain the truth.
We listened to Jennifer Homans from NY University talk about ballet and the fact that Louis XIV’s ballet master was the first person to write the original five positions of ballet. Louis himself danced a 12-hour ballet!
Speaker Abraham Verghese, the Stanford medical theory professor, talked about his personal experience as a doctor which brought the room to tears.
Liaquat Ahamed explained the entire history of the European common market and make his predictions of the future of Euro. I listened to Edward O. Wilson, the greatest living biologist since Darwin, discuss evolutionary theory and the importance of conserving biological diversity on our planet.
Strobe Talbott, the head of the Brookings Institution, discussed the arc of human history and the critical juncture we face with the challenge of climate change. He noted that we are the first generation to identify a problem and the last generation to be able to do anything about it.
CDs of the conference are available online. I highly recommend you go and buy them. What an intellectual treat!
About The Conference
We call ourselves SVWC for short. We are a once-a-year community of discerning readers and writers who come together to consider ideas set forth in fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, and filmmaking. While covering a great breadth of subjects, the conference is always anchored by important literary figures and frequently includes policy makers who have authored respected books.
We often liken SVWC to a four-day literary house party that takes place in Sun Valley, Idaho, a gorgeous Western resort nestled under the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. As the weekend unfolds you will become aware of our unique staff, which is a never-say-no group that makes all things possible; if you ask for help you’ll get a guiding hand and a big smile. You’ll meet the members of our exceptional audience – generous individuals who flock here from all over the country. Like you, they believe in the importance of books in all forms, of civil discourse and teaching, of coming together to laugh, cry, listen and learn from the authors of the written word. And you will get to know some of our generation’s finest writers.