Arts and Entertainment

Mystery writer is keynote speaker at conference

Mystery writer Philip Margolin will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Whidbey Island Writers Conference.

A retired attorney specializing in criminal defense, Margolin has been writing full time in 1996. He has been nominated for an Edgar for the best original paperback mystery of 1978, and has had one of his works, “The Last Innocent Man,” made into an HBO movie. His book “Gone, But Not Forgotten” debuted as a mini-series in 2004.

Organizers of the annual event are planning a somewhat shorter conference this year.

The 2009 Whidbey Island Writers Conference will be held Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28. The usual three-day conference has been shortened to two days this year and conference organizers have planned an extensive program that emphasizes building the writer’s craft.

Several major authors from varying genres will offer a wide choice of classes. Editors, agents and publishers will participate in panels and provide paid consultations for registrants throughout the conference.

In all, there are 16 major presenters for the classes and programs being offered.

Anyone who wants to learn how to write and publish can join the more than 150 other participants and choose from the seven “fireside chats” on Friday, 15 sessions on Saturday and seven post-conference workshops on Saturday evening.

The conference kicks off with Margolin, a New York Times bestselling author, on the morning of Feb. 27 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.

After the opening session, the afternoon will offer a choice of seven “fireside chats.” The chats are a unique feature of the Whidbey Island Writers Conference, and the intimate gatherings are held in local homes to foster in-depth interaction with authors who represent different genres.

Saturday classes will be held at South Whidbey High School in Langley, with something offered to cover nearly every aspect of becoming a writer.

Post-conference workshops offer an extended four hours of hands-on experiences in writing. The workshops — from 5 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 28 — also offer an opportunity for writers not attending the two-day conference to share in the experience. The workshops will be held in private venues on South Whidbey.

Cost for participating in the conference from Friday through Saturday afternoon is $230 for Whidbey Island Writers Association members and $265 for non-members. Cost for the extended Saturday evening program is $50 for conference attendees, $65 for WIWA members and $75 for non-members.

Detailed information about the conference program is available at the WIWA Web site, click here. Registration may be done on the Web site (click on “Registration”) or by calling the office at 331-6714.

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