The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference (PWC) kicked off today in style! It was a gorgeous day in Philadelphia, and everyone inside seemed as sunny. Jonathan Maberry gave the opening speech, and he stressed “writer mojo” – the charge that writers get from being with other writers.
That enthusiasm and energy was obvious today. The buzz of conversation between sessions showed that everyone was networking and getting to know people. I saw quite a few faces I recognized from the Willow Grove Writers’ Coffeehouse, which was a great feeling!
After the opening speech started the 3-day workshops. I won’t go into details here (you can find details on the instructors on the PWC website—scroll down), but there really is something for everyone. There’s Novel: Plot (Merry Jones); Novel: Character (Jonathan Maberry); Literary Short Story (Debra Leigh Scott); YA/Middle Grade (Marie Lamba); Poetry (Grant Clauser); Horror, Sci-fi. Fantasy & Paranormal (Caridad Pineiro); Contemporary Short Story (Simone Zeltich); Memoir (Anne Kaier); Write for New Media (Ian Markiewicz); Nonfiction Book (Dr. Terry Levine); Playwriting (Maurizio Giammarco); Poetry II (Lynn Levine); and 1-day workshops Travel (Jon Volkmer); and Online Magazines Panel (Kathy Volk Miller and Joy Stocke).
Whew! The classes I took were both enjoyable and highly informative, and I can only assume the others were the same. But the PWC also features the PITCH SESSION!
There were six agents and editors there:
Debra Leigh Scott, Editor/Publisher Hidden River Arts
Randall Brown, Founder/Editor Matterpress
John Bryan, Editor-in-Chief Plexus Books
Katie Grimm, Don Congdon Literary Agency
Adriana Dominguez, Full Circle Literary Agency
Marie Lamba, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency
I pitched to Ms. Dominguez, who was very personable and professional and did not make me nervous at all! After looking at the schedules of these people taking pitches, I wonder how they manage to do it—there are so many people pitching to them! I thank the agents and editors who took the time to come listen to our pitches. Hopefully it will turn out to be a great opportunity for them and for some of our writing colleagues!
The evening schedule, which I did not attend, was the buffet/agent panel, and the Rap sessions: Poetry, Fiction, and Juvenile. If anyone cares to talk about these in the comments, or put a link to your experience there in the comments, please do!
Throughout all this busy, information-packed day and evening, there was the Hancock Room – also known as the hospitality suite. Books, magazines, coffee, tea, and lots of tables where you can sit and talk and meet other writers. The “writers high” was almost tangible in this room (or was it just the caffeine level?) and synergy took place everywhere.
If you couldn’t attend the PWC this year, maybe you can next year. And if you can’t, then get some writer mojo at a conference near you. As Jonathan Maberry said, “Writers thrive when we are together. We wither when we’re isolated.”
I’ll recap Day 2 tomorrow night!