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.
Hosted by: Fall For The Book
Where: George Mason University, Fairfax Campus
Mon. March 21st- Thurs. March 24th
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.
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.
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!