2017 Spring Conference Review

By Caitlin Herron


It’s spring conference season in the DMV, and it’s a great opportunity to connect with your literary community, grow your skills, and network with other local writers.  Regardless of your writing experience or genre, there are several upcoming events where you can hear some fantastic readings, socialize, and expand your knowledge of the writing world (and even catch some of our authors in the process!) These are events you won’t want to miss!


2017 NEW LEAVES WRITERS' CONFERENCE

Hosted by Fall For The Book, in coordination with George Mason University's Creative Writing Program.

George Mason University, Fairfax Campus
Monday, April 3 - Friday, April 7
Registration: Free
 

With no registration fee and no sign-up required, this conference is great for writers with changing schedules. This years’ conference highlights its first “Day of Translation” on Wednesday, April 5, presented by our friends at The Alan Cheuse International Writers Center and The Center for the Art of Translation. The day features acclaimed translators and writers presenting on “Translation as a Political Act,” “The Art of Translation,” and other topics. The rest of the week includes readings from established writers Laura van den Berg, Spencer Reece, Helon Habila, and the Loud Fire reading by Mason’s MFA students. (Several Stillhouse Press staff members past and present will be there, so don’t miss it!) On Tuesday evening, Mason MFA alum Mike Scalise will be reading from his memoir The Brand New Catastrophe (Sarabande Books, 2017). And on Wednesday night, be sure to check out Linda Chavers reading from her chapbook (This Fucking Body Is) Never Yours, from our friends at Gazing Grain Press.


ARTOMATIC

Crystal City, Arlington, VA
March 24 - May 6
Entry: Free
 

Artomatic is a fun way to experience all of the performing and visual arts the D.C. area has to offer - in an old laundry building! That’s right, this space has been converted into a venue for writers and visual and performing artists to showcase and sell their work. With so many weeks to visit, there is plenty of time to get a taste of this unique event. Come April 1 for a reading by Stillhouse's Andrew Gifford, author of We All Scream: The Fall of the Gifford's Ice Cream Empire (forthcoming May 1, 2017), and get your hands on his exciting memoir a full month before its official release.


CONVERSATIONS & CONNECTIONS: PRACTICAL ADVICE ON WRITING

Hosted by Barrelhouse


George Mason University, Arlington Campus
Saturday, April 22, 9am-6pm
Registration: $70
 

This conference is the premier way to connect with writers and editors through a day packed with workshops, panels, and ending in a legendary boxed wine reception! Panel discussions include flash fiction, point of view, handling grief, and a myriad other topics.  There will even be a panel with Barrelhouse Magazine editors giving advice on how to get your work out of the slush pile and into a lit mag. This year's conference will feature our very own editorial director Marcos L. Martínez, Stillhouse friend and Editor of Smokelong Quarterly, Tara Laskowski, and Rion Almicar Scott, author of Insurrections (The University Press of Kentucky, 2016), a 2016 Pen/Faulkner finalist. A highlight of this conference is its speed dating event, where attendees can bring their poetry, short fiction, or first few pages of an essay or story for a 10 minute critique with an editor. Lit mags attending include Barrelhouse, Smokelong Quarterly, Potomac Review, Gettysburg Review, and many more. This conference offers a great way to get feedback on your work from a range of editors in your genre.  The best part?  Your registration gets you a book by a featured writer and a subscription to a participating lit mag.  At $70, you get a lot of bang for your buck!  


KENSINGTON DAY OF THE BOOK FESTIVAL

Kensington, MD
Sunday, April 23, 11am-4pm
Registration: Free


The Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a lively outdoor literary festival for every reader in your family. Over 100 authors, poets, and artists will be lining the streets of this charming downtown for book sales, readings, and more! There will be tents with an on-the-spot poetry competition, an outdoor kid’s show, and even demonstrations from cookbook authors. Stillhouse's Andrew Gifford, (We All Scream, May 2017) is a special guest speaker, so you won’t want to miss this event, rain or shine!


BOOKS ALIVE! 5th ANNUAL WASHINGTON WRITERS CONFERENCE

Hosted by Washington Independent Review of Books

College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Hyattsville, MD
Friday, April 28 – Saturday, April 29

Registration:
Mar. 2 – Mar. 31 $250
Apr. 1 – Apr. 29 $260
Student Discount rate: $130
 

If you have a novel, story collection, or idea that’s itching to be pitched, this is this conference to hit this spring! After Friday’s “How to Pitch an Agent” session, participants will have the opportunity on Saturday to meet face to face with up to three agents for five minutes apiece. Agents are looking for work in all genres: YA novels, memoir, sci-fi, fantasy and more. Not looking to pitch? There are still plenty of panels from publishing industry experts to attend, including the keynote address from Judith Viorst, best known the children's classic, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This is a great event to meet established authors in your genre and get advice from industry experts!


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Caitlin Herron is the events intern for Stillhouse Press and a copy editor for George Mason's student newspaper, Fourth Estate. She will graduate with a BA in Writing and Rhetoric in December 2017.  She also works part time in Parks and Recreation for Fairfax County. 

Tis The Season... For Writing Conferences!

It’s March, and the warmer weather marks not only the start of spring, but also the beginning of conference season for literary organizations all over the country. The Association of Writing and Writing Professionals, the largest literary conference in North America, is in Los Angeles this year. But fret not; you don’t have to travel across the country to broaden your writing horizons.

The D.C. area has some fantastic conferences to offer that will appeal to all writers, regardless of your experience, genre, or medium. Each conference has something unique to offer, with plenty of readings, panels, workshops, and networking and social opportunities to choose from. Take a look at our round-up of local conferences to see how you can get involved  in the D.C. area literary scene this spring.


NEW LEAVES WRITER'S CONFERENCE

Hosted by: Fall For The Book

Where: George Mason University, Fairfax Campus

Mon. March 21st- Thurs. March 24th

Registration: Free

 

New Leaves’ events are all in the evenings, which makes it perfect for busy D.C. students and professionals. The events include readings by established authors Porochista Khakpour, Leslie Jamison, Jennifer Atkinson, Heather Green, and Tim Denevi, as well as the annual Loud Fire reading by George Mason MFA candidates.

Tuesday, March 22, Stillhouse Press will celebrate the release of its second book, the hybrid memoir POP! , from debut author Mark Polanzak. Fellow press, Gazing Grain will host a reading by Heidi Czerweic and Nora Brooks, the winner and runner-up of their recent chapbook contest.


CONVERSATIONS & CONNECTIONS: WRITERS CONNECT CONFERENCE

Hosted by: Barrelhouse Magazine

Where: George Mason University, Arlington Campus

Sat. April 23rd

Registration: $70 ($65 for students)

 

Conversations and Connections is a great place to meet local writers and improve your craft. The one-day conference features panels and workshops on flash fiction, writing ethnicity, and “late bloomer” authors, among others. Writers Connect is known for its relaxed atmosphere and emphasis on networking; with an “editor speed date” for lunch and a boxed wine happy hour, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave without a few new friends and contacts in the D.C. literary world.  Your registration fee also nets you a free book by by one of the authors speaking at the conference and a year’s subscription to a participating literary magazine. All proceeds from the conference go toward supporting participating small presses and literary journals.


BOOKS ALIVE! WASHINGTON WRITERS CONFERENCE

Hosted by: The Washington Independent Review of Books

Where: Bethesda Marriott at Pook’s Hill Road

Fri. April 29th- Sat. April 30th

Registration: $240 until April 1; $130 for full-time students

 

Whether you’re a new writer or a seasoned veteran, Books Alive! is a great way to learn more about the publishing industry and what’s going on in writing right now. 

The conference begins Friday evening with a relaxed social, followed by a panel on how to pitch an agent. Writers can then use the suggestions from the panel in the Agent Pitch sessions, which will take place throughout the day Saturday. This year’s keynote speaker is Bob Woodward, award-winning investigative journalist for The Washington Post and best-selling nonfiction author, followed by panels on everything from voice in memoir to adapting books to film.

Be sure to catch the Small Press Panel at the end of the day, which will feature Director of the Santa Fe Writers Project and Friend of Stillhouse, Andrew Gifford and our very own Editor-in-Chief Marcos L. Martínez!


Michelle Webber is the Social Media Editor for Stillhouse Press.  She is currently working on a science fiction novel and is a fiction candidate in George Mason University's BFA Program.