Annual Writers Conference - Christopher Newport University Annual Writers Conference - Christopher Newport University
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38th Annual Writers Conference

Finding Your Voice

May 3-4, 2019

Save the Date: CNU's 39th Annual Writer's Conference — May 15-16, 2020

Schedule

Friday, May 3

Schedule of events
TimeEventLocation
3:30-4:30 p.m. Registration Freeman Center
4:30 p.m. Welcome and Opening Words Freeman Center Second Floor
4:30-6 p.m. Open Mic

You’ve been writing all year. Now is the time to share your words in front of a supportive audience. Participants must read their own work. Time is limited to five minutes. Sign up at the registration table to reserve your spot. Moderated by Michael Khandelwal of the Muse Writers Center.

Freeman Center 202
6-6:30 p.m. Dinner

Optional boxed dinners available for pickup.

Freeman Center Second Floor
6:30-7:45 p.m. Keynote Panel: I Write Because I Read

Henry Hart, as the 2018 Virginia Poet Laureate, will discuss an aspect of poetry he finds significant. His address – “I Write Because I Read,” a statement by Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney – will explore how his reading of scholarly books has affected his poetry, as well as his non-literary experiences, growing up on a Christmas tree farm in a small town, and his concerns for socio-political issues.

Henry Hart

Freeman Center 202
8-9:15 p.m. Evening Workshops

Goldilocks and the Three Bears of Publishing – Cricket Freeman
Creative Nonfiction, Bringing the Story to Life – Ken Sutton
The Many Hats of a Writer – Sally Parrot

Descriptions below.

Freeman Center

Saturday, May 4

Schedule of events
TimeEventLocation
8:15-8:45 a.m. Registration, coffee and continental breakfast Freeman Center
8:45-9 a.m. Welcome and Day's Agenda Freeman Center
9-10:20 a.m. Morning Workshops

Let's Make a Song – Skye Zentz
Writing Strong, Three-Dimensional Characters – David Perry
Finding Your Flow I: A Creativity Workshop on Mining the Mother Lode of Story – Dr. Lisa Rowe Fraustino

Descriptions below.

Freeman Center
10:30-11:45 a.m. Keynote: Life Stories

Jeffrey Blount’s life, like everyone else’s, is composed of stories – a series of short stories and lengthy sagas, narratives of love, conflict, pessimism and hope. Looking back over the years, he recognized that his stories, those he has heard and especially those he’s read, have been the driving forces in his life. In this talk, “Life Stories,” Blount will spin a few of those yarns and explain their impact on his journey. He will also explain why stories touch us all, have the power to alter our life paths and how in fact, we are born powerless to resist them.

Jeffrey Blount

Gaines Theatre
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Book Sales Freeman Center
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Lunch Freeman Center
1-2:20 p.m. Early Afternoon Workshops

Panel: Getting Your Book in Print – Mary Batten, Moderator
Creative Nonfiction, Bringing the Story to Life – Ken Sutton
Finding Your Flow II: What Drives Your Story? – Dr. Lisaw Rowe Fraustino

Descriptions below.

Freeman Center
2:30-3:50 p.m. Late Afternoon Workshops

Let's Make a Song – Skye Zentz
Writing Strong, Three-Dimensional Characters – David Perry
Rewriting Myths and Fairy Tales – Henry Hart

Descriptions below.

Freeman Center
4 p.m. Announcement of Contest Winners and Closing Words
Dr. Kara Keeling
Gaines Theatre

Goldilocks and the Three Bears of Publishing

Cricket Freeman

Do you ever feel like Goldilocks, wandering the woods, tired and hungry, as you roam the dark and ominous forests of publishing? What do you hunger for? Which is the best path for you to follow to lead you to success? See what today's publishing world demands of its writers beyond beautiful words. Cricket Freeman, an experienced author, agent and publisher, will shine a light on publishing options, from working with literary agents to publishers and self-publishing. Learn what you need to figure out, foster and forget in order to build your own dynamic career. This upbeat, entertaining and encouraging workshop is for all writers -- no matter what you write or how long you've been writing.

Creative Nonfiction, Bringing the Story to Life

Ken Sutton

In this workshop Ken Sutton will show how to bring the recording of an event into the vivid now using creative narrative. In one example, he will use the newspaper article about his house burning down when he was two, a short reflection on memory built around his memories of the event and the discovery that they were real at age 10. For another example he will show how a trip to the post office can become 70 lines of poetry and the title of a book. Sutton will also spend time on the mechanics of telling your tale, how the cultural matrix of the speaker and the listener (reader) must shape the telling, and how to respect the facts without being dragged down by them. He will insist on participation and hopes to jointly build a story outline for students to flesh out on their own, comparing the results via an email "round robin."

The Many Hats of a Writer

Sally Parrot

Does your writer's toolbox include a hat for every occasion? We don't mean a fashionable chapeau to wear when you attend the National Book Awards ceremony. No, the "hats" this workshop will discuss represent the various "bonnets" and "fedoras" a small business owner -- and every writer is one -- will need to have hanging on a nearby peg. Many of these hats should be donned in the early stages of a writing career. (Fear not! It's never too late!) Others, like the aforementioned one for the awards ceremony, can be added later on in the writing journey. This workshop will include a light-hearted lecture, hands-on exercises and a short Q&A.

Let's Make a Song!

Skye Zentz

Feeling spontaneous? Join Skye Zentz in a whirl of creativity and collaboration as we build an (almost) original song together, using the existing framework, melody and structure of something familiar. We'll create a sensory word bank of rich language to use for future writing, cover some basic songwriting vocabulary and have a blast as we create a musical memento of our time together at the conference! This workshop is great for aspiring songwriters who haven't quite put pen to paper yet, as well as those who have done some writing but are looking for a way to shake things up. Come as you are -- no prior songwriting experience required!

Writing Strong, Three-Dimensional Characters

David Perry

This workshop features strategies authors can use to flesh out protagonists, antagonists and minor characters that will draw in your readers. Well-developed characters are the basis for entertaining and engaging plots and storylines. Readers are not drawn to stories as much as they are to characters with whom they can empathize. This workshop addresses the importance of strong characters; the traits that make a character memorable; and, what comes first: plot or character? We will also provide suggestions for formatting your scenes and chapters to keep the reader turning pages. These are just a small sample of the topics addressed during the 75-minute session.

Finding Your Flow I: A Creativity Workshop on Mining the Mother Lode of Story

Dr. Lisa Rowe Fraustino

In a series of guided exercises, this workshop will take you back to your childhood encounters with story and help you identify the optimal themes and forms for your work to flow. Whether you write for a child audience, for adults or just for yourself, you will go home with a rich vein of ideas that will help you write "in the zone" of creativity.

Finding Your Flow II: What Drives Your Story?

Dr. Lisa Rowe Fraustino

Most stories, even nonfictional ones, are driven by one of three elements: character, voice or plot. The very best writers can weave all three into a strong braid, but even so, one element dominates to keep a story moving, or to pull the reader through. If you're aware of what's driving a story, you're better able to ride that energy through the writing of it. This workshop will help you learn to go with the flow of your writing strengths by recognizing the driving forces.

Rewriting Myths and Fairy Tales

Henry Hart

Henry Hart will hand out and discuss several modern poems that retell myths and fairytales, and will ask the poets in the workshop to write poems based on a myth or fairytale.

Conference Rates

For planning purposes, please register by April 12, 2019. Cancellations before then are subject to a $25 charge. After April 12, there are no refunds. On-site registration accepted.

 

 Registration

Includes conference and Saturday lunch

 Before April 12 After April 12
General Registration $125 $150
Military OR age 60+ $90 $108
LLS members $75 $90
Verified Muse student $75 $90
Non-CNU full-time students (ID required) $50 $60
CNU faculty and staff $25 $30
CNU students no charge

 Additional Rates

15-minute One-on-One Session

(must be conference participant)

$40

15-minute Pitch Session

(must be conference participant)

$40

30-minute Group Pitch Session

(must be conference participant)

$20
Each contest submission $10

Book-signing table

(reserve by April 22, 2019)

$25 - half-table

Boxed dinner (Friday night)

$12

One-on-Ones

Participants may submit in advance up to 10 pages of your writing to be reviewed by an editor. Then, you will meet with the editor for a 15-minute critique session to discuss your work.

$40 additional fee for conference registrants only. Submissions must be received by April 5, 2019.

Editors

  • Cricket Freeman, publisher, agent and editor
  • Kerry D'Agostino, adult and YA agent
  • Dr. Lisa Rowe Fraustino, YA and children's writer and editor

Pitch Sessions

Here’s your chance. “Tell me about your work” means 15 minutes of fame is yours to shine. Participants will meet with an agent and pitch your work for about five minutes, introducing and promoting the concept and trying to grab the agent’s attention. Then you’ll have 10 minutes for further discussion.

$40 additional fee for conference registrants only.

Editors

  • Kerry D'Agostino, adult and YA agent
  • Mary Lee Donovan, children's agent
  • Dr. Lisa Rowe Fraustino, YA and children's writer and editor
  • Cricket Freeman, publisher, agent and editor

Group Pitch Sessions

This is a new concept in a pitch session. Cricket Freeman will conduct a 30-minute session with a group of eight people. $20 additional fee for conference registrants only. This concept is helpful to writers who are shy or unsure about their writing. Everyone has a chance to speak at half the cost of individual pitch sessions and twice the time.

Writing Contest

Submission deadline: April 12, 2019

Registrants may submit one entry in one or more of the four categories. Prizes will be awarded at the closing ceremony.

Judges

  • Fiction: Heidi Hartwiger
  • Nonfiction: Dr. Nicole Emmelhainz
  • Poetry: Anne Shalaski and Bob Kelly
  • Juvenile fiction: Kim Norman

Contest Rules

  1. All entries must be unpublished manuscripts. Work that appears in on-campus publications or online publications is considered published and may not be submitted.
  2. Entries must be on 8.5 x 11-inch white paper and double-spaced in 12-point font (Times New Roman or Courier).
  3. Author may submit up to one work in each category. A $10 fee must accompany each submission.
  4. There must be a removable title page (e.g., paper clipped) with the author’s name, address, category and title.
  5. Title and page number must appear on each page of the manuscript.
  6. The word count for each category is:
    • Fiction: one story or book chapter, not to exceed 3,000 words
    • Juvenile fiction: one story or book chapter, not to exceed 2,000 words
    • Nonfiction: one article or book chapter, not to exceed 3,000 words
    • Poetry: one poem, not to exceed 100 lines
  7. Judges have been requested to comment in writing (length at their discretion).
  8. Failure to follow contest rules will disqualify entry. Cancellation of registration will disqualify entries.
  9. Faxed or emailed entries will not be accepted.
  10. Entries must be mailed or delivered to:
    LifeLong Learning Society
    Yoder Barn Theatre
    660 Hamilton Drive
    Newport News, VA 23602
  11. Christopher Newport students may submit entries to Dr. Kara Keeling in the Department of English.
  12. Entries may be picked up at the close of the conference or the LLS office. After 30 days, any remaining entries will be shredded.

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Christopher Newport University
LifeLong Learning Society
(757) 269-4368

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