The public is invited to attend the George Mason University Writers' Conference and Literary Festival March 23-29.

The festival will include readings and lectures by poets, novelists, short fiction writers, dramatists, nonfiction and children's authors.

Designed for beginning and advanced writers, students and teachers, the conference will offer 22 workshops in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, oral history, drama and children's literature. In addition, professional writers will be available for individual manuscript consultations.

The university also has scheduled panel discussions on commercial and small press publishing, an outing to a Kennedy Center production and informal gatherings and dinners.

Among the writers scheduled to attend the conference are Robert Coover, whose first novel, "The Origin of the Brunists," won the 1966 William Faulkner Award for the best first novel; poet Michael S. Harper, who recently published "Images of Kin," a volume of poems recording his experiences as a black man in America, and historian William Craig, author of "The Nine Circles of Hell: Death and Survival in Auschwitz."

Craig will conduct a nonfiction seminar and will present slide lecture on Auschwitz.

Others scheduled to attend are poet and children's author Lucille Clifton; play-wright and poet Daniel Mark Epstein; bilingual novelist, poet, critic and translator Raymond Federman, and writer, editor and critic Edmund White. Poet Peter Klappert and fiction writers Susan Richards Shreve and Stephen Goodwin, who are members of George Mason's English faculty, will also attend the conference.

All readings and lectures are open to the public free of charge, but there is a fee for participating in the conference.

Applicants are being accepted through March 10. For information on the conference and festival, call Julie Mackall at 323-2436.