Writers Conference returns to Whidbey

"Erik Larson, a contributing editor to Time magazine and the author of the international bestseller Isaac's Storm, will keynote the opening of the Whidbey Island Writers' Conference on Friday.Write this downThe Whidbey Island Writers' Conference is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 2-4, at South Whidbey High School, island homes and other venues. Brochures and registration forms are available at all Island libraries, and also on the Whidbey Island Writers Association Web site at Registration forms can be downloaded off the site, or received by calling 360.331.6714 or e-mailing Tuition for the conference is $308, which includes luncheons and events. This year's registration is being held to 250. Volunteers who can give days or only limited time, are very much needed for the conference, as well as during the few days before and after. Discounts are available on the conference fee. Call Marti Anamosa, 360-341-2446 for information.The Whidbey Island Writers Conference, which has drawn hundreds of attendees from throughout the country and internationally, will enter its third year on South Whidbey the weekend of March 2-4.The event offers aspiring writers the opportunity to hear, talk with and learn from more than 35 major authors, agents, editors and publishers, in both individual and small group settings as well as at larger functions and informal social gatherings. Conference presenters will meet with participants in private home settings, classroom sessions, individual consultations, panel discussions, hands-on writing workshops, small critiquing sessions and author readings. The conference's very popular author fireside chats will take place in 11 island homes the first day of the conference, organized according to fiction, nonfiction, mystery, poetry, romance, children's literature, screenwriting, publishing, and multiple genres.The program features a Friday morning opening with a Native American theme, and a keynote address by bestselling author Erik Larson. In Serendipity and Panic -- A Writer's Best Assets, Larson, who is also a contributing editor to Time magazine, will recount his journey toward the completion of Issac's Storm. That evening at 5:30, favorite Seattle mystery writer Mary Daheim, author of the Alpine and Bed and Breakfast series, will give a talk called Ideas? What Ideas? I Call it Life! The event is free and open to the public and focuses on the value of writing from the essence of one's life. There are two Friday evening writing-centered events with dinner available: Bedtime Stories at China City, an informal evening of prose readings by conference participants; and an Island-Style Poetry Slam at the Dog House, led by South Whidbey's Conductor of Fun, Jim Freeman. On Saturday, romance novelist Jennifer Crusie will speak on The Seven Habits of Extremely Unhappy Writers. Saturday night will showcase authors and their books at a dessert reception. New this year are several early morning homeroom meetings covering practical advice on producing book proposals, queries, performing your work, and developing magazine articles. Noted screenwriter Bill Kerby (The Rose, Hooper, and others) will lead an intensive three-day workshop, From Idea to Silver Screen, for a limited number of participants interested in developing and refining their screenplay. There are also early bonus classes dealing with Internet writing, plus post-conference workshops for those who can stay a little longer after the Sunday afternoon closing. Among the other presenters are Bob Mayer, author of the Area 51 and Atlantis series; New York Times bestselling romance writer Susan Wiggs; poet John Knoepfle, who also writes folk talk tales; Rosina Lippi, author of Homestead, which won the 1999 PEN/Hemingway award under her pen name, Sara Donati; poet and essayist Sheila Bender; Island writers Marian Blue and Wayne Ude; mystery writer Elizabeth Engstrom; Lowell Thomas award-winning essayist Gary Ferguson; mystery novelist Nora DeLoach; children's author Kirby Larson; prolific magazine writer Eva Shaw; travel writers Louise Purwin Zobel and Cynthia Dial; and many others. There will also be 10 agents, publishers and editors, with whom conference participants can meet in individual consultations. "

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