A stimulating variety of programs will be available every afternoon, including some events that are open to the public. Scroll down to see what is scheduled for each conference day. You can request a seat at afternoon seminars when you register for the conference. Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to also sign up at the welcome desk on campus for open mics and pitch panels as spaces are limited!



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1:00PM: paths to publishing

Our three panelists, magazine writer Kerrie Flanagan, novelist Gabriel Tallent, and memoirist Norma Watkins, discuss with moderator Susan Bono the paths to publishing that are available in their genres, and the individual journeys that led to their recent book launches. 
This event is open to the public.

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When starting a work of fiction, whether for a book or for the screen, getting to know your characters through the discipline of pre-writing can pay enormous dividends. Nina Sadowsky, novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, discusses how pre-writing can help you develop three-dimensional characters with the complexity to drive plot and form bonds with your reading or viewing audience.   


2:30pm: Building Your Platform with Magazine Articles

Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, magazine articles are a great way to reach a larger audience and build your author’s platform. Kerrie Flanagan, author of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing, will discuss why magazine writing is an effective marketing tool for all authors. In addition to covering the basics, she will provide actionable tips on writing for, and submitting to, magazines. 

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2:30pm: Scenes in Memoir—Bringing Your Story to Life

Learn how to make your memoir read like a novel. In this mini workshop given by Linda Joy Myers, we will talk about the components of a scene and how to show and tell—both are necessary for a successful memoir. Characterization, dialogue, and takeaway are all part of excellent scene writing. Come ready to roll up your sleeves and work!

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4:10pm: pitch panel

Pitch your book in two minutes flat to editor Susan Chang, agent Duvall Osteen, and editor and bookseller Summer Dawn Laurie, along with moderator Susan Bono. They’ll give you frank reactions to the concept of your book, and to the way you made your pitch. There are grand prizes up for grabs: the coveted words, “send me your manuscript.”

Private, one-on-one consultations can also be requested when you register for the conference. Consultations are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

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5:30PM: faculty and student Welcome Mixer

Come meet the faculty and your fellow students for a welcome supper and wine tasting at St. Anthony’s Hall in Mendocino. After some participants-only mingling, doors will open to the public at 6:30pm for a faculty reading.




1:00pm: open mic 

Share a two-minute excerpt of your work—or sit back and enjoy a medley of good writing and entertainment.
This event is open to the public.


2:30pm: Transitioning from solo to Collaborative Arts

Ever thought about turning your idea into a stage play? A screenplay? This workshop with Indigo Moor, poet and playwright, examines the basic mental and literary shifts writers must undergo to cross into the collaborative arts. Using examples from contemporary scripts and screenplays, we will discuss how to make the leap to stage- and screen-writing. 


2:30pm: Everything You Need to Know About Finding an Agent

Literary Agent Duvall Osteen will walk you through the publishing process, from crafting your query to choosing an agent. She’ll share real examples of letters that worked and turned into publishing successes, and answer questions to help you get the most out of your agent search.

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2:30pm: using the PAST: SHAPing FICTION BEYOND FACT 

History is as dramatic as any novel. The power of the past can inspire and inform the stories we tell. And yet there are other gifts we can take from research.  Historian and novelist Jason S. Ridler will discuss the power of using not just historical events and people but “Big Ideas” to help us create wild and compelling fiction. And he promises it won’t be like any boring history class! 

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4:10pm: blind critique

Submit your opening lines anonymously and hear them discussed by editor Susan Chang, agent Duvall Osteen, and editor and bookseller Summer Dawn Laurie, along with moderator Jody Gehrman. Gain candid insight into what editors and agents are looking for—what will keep them reading and what will turn them off—and find out secretly the impact your first lines would make.

Private, one-on-one consultations can also be requested when you register for the conference. Consultations are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.


5:30PM: First Friday at Town Hall

Join us for a standing-room-only event: our “First Friday” faculty reading at Fort Bragg’s Town Hall. This popular soirée with wine and nibbles is open to the public. Afterwards, participants are encouraged to enjoy Fort Bragg’s “First Friday”—when all the local galleries will be open!
This event is open to the public.




1:00pm: open mic

Share a two-minute excerpt of your work—or sit back and enjoy a medley of good writing and entertainment.
This event is open to the public.

Chang_headshot 4.2016 (1).jpg
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Get an inside look at the acquisition and editorial process from both sides of the desk with Susan Chang, Senior Editor at Tor Books, and author Ginny Rorby, whose novel Freeing Finch Susan recently acquired. What improves the chances of a work being bought? What are the challenges and joys of the ensuing editor:author partnership? Find out how to prepare yourself for the editorial process, and how to harness it to improve its final outcome: your book.

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2:30pm: the author’s process

What is “the Writing Process”? How can we use it to better serve our evolution as writers? In this mini-workshop given by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, we will begin with a sampling of quotes from famous authors. How each resonates with us will help us to conceptualize our own writing process, and to identify how it can be harnessed to serve us.

see you at hill house!

Saturday afternoon programming ends at 4:00 p.m. to allow you to relax and refresh before meeting us at The Hill House Inn for a 5:30 p.m. reception and faculty book-signing, followed by our closing dinner featuring keynote speaker Elizabeth Rosner.

This year, seats at the closing dinner must be booked and paid for in advance as part of your conference registration. Seats are limited and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

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closing keynote address

Elizabeth Rosner is a bestselling novelist, poet, and essayist living in Berkeley, California. Her debut novel, The Speed of Light, was translated into nine languages and short-listed for the prestigious Prix Femina. The book won several literary prizes in both the US and Europe, including Hadassah Magazine’s Ribalow Prize, judged by Elie Wiesel. Blue Nude, Elizabeth’s second novel, was selected as one of the best books of 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Her third novel, Electric City, was named one of the best books of 2014 by NPR. A poetry collection, Gravity, was published in the same year. Elizabeth’s first book of non-fiction, Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory, was published in September 2017 and has been featured on National Public Radio and in the New York Times. Elizabeth travels widely to lead intensive writing workshops and will bring her broad perspective on writing—one that spans many genres—to her keynote address.