Books are to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Ferber what candy is to a child. His appetite for reading is insatiable, and he is always searching for the next good book. He even refers to his annual trek to the Sun Valley Writers' Conference as "adult summer camp."
The conference, which Ferber and his wife, lawyer Amy Edgy Ferber, attend together, is held every August in the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and attracts Pulitzer prize-winning and notable authors from around the world. Reading and writing are such passions for Ferber that he immerses himself in the daylong sessions that have included writers such as Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies), Katheryn Stockett (The Help), Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns) and Liaquat Ahamed (Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World).
Ferber finds it hard to conceal his enthusiasm for this trip, often using words like "wonderful," "great" and "I can't say enough" to describe his experience. Clearly, it's more than a conference for Ferber. He's even stumbled upon a local eatery in Sun Valley that fulfills another interest: food and cooking.
Ferber was unable to attend this past summer due to a trial date conflict, but his enthusiasm for the conference has not waned. He insists he will not let anything prevent his attendance in the future.
Ferber spoke with the Daily Report about what makes this annual journey out west so special.
What got you interested in this conference?
I'm a big nerd. I really enjoy reading. We have good friends, and the wife is on the board of the Sun Valley Writers' Conference. She stoked our interest. We went out there for the first time in 2008 and were just hooked. ... People come from all over the country and really the world to participate in it, and there's a beautiful outdoor amphitheater. ... The main stage authors give presentations in the amphitheater and then throughout the property there are conference rooms. There are breakout sessions so you get to go to these big presentations where the authors discuss their books, read from their books. It's really people from across the spectrum: fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, filmmaking, cooking. You get the big-tent experience of them addressing a large crowd, and then the very intimate experience of being in a small room and in both settings they answer questions. There's just something about being close to the author, and then they are out on the property mingling with the regular folk.
It's readers, writers. All of my writing comes through my work. I love writing, and I write briefs and really enjoy it. I'm the type of person who reads The New Yorker, The New York Times and highlights phrases. I think about how to use them in my own writing. I just love reading. You have people from all different industries and professions who are out in Sun Valley for this conference.
Besides writing briefs, do you think you'll ever branch out and do some other writing?
I'd like to.
What would you write? What style of writing?
Both fiction and nonfiction appeal to me. I guess that's reflected in what I read, but I'd like to write both. The caliber of people that they get at this conference is incredible. Pulitzer prize winners. ... There are many, many great things about it. But each year has a theme, and they will have writers to go along with that theme, but they are also very timely in their presentations.