Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Harriette Austin Writers Conference

On July 17 - 18, 2009, the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens, Georgia will host the sixteenth annual Harriette Austin Writers Conference. I'm a bit biased towards this conference since I'll be presenting two sessions there, "Writing for Middle Grades," and "Selling Your First Novel."

I'll be in good company at the HA conference. My editor, Michelle Poploff, from Random House, will be there, too, critiquing manuscripts and speaking about recent book acquisitions in her talk, "The Write Place at the Write Time." Author Evelyn Coleman, one of my favorites, will conduct a session on "Writing for Children," and will also be the dinner speaker.

Other presenters include Philip Lee Williams, journalist, poet, novelist and film writer. Phil, who has 13 published books, was my first editor at The Athens Observer, way back when, and I'm proud to also call him a friend. Anne Webster, a gifted poet with a new book, A HISTORY OF NURSING, Poetry, published by Kennesaw State University Press will also be there. Anne is a retired retired nurse, a fifth generation native of Atlanta, and the younger sister of author and poet Rosemary Danielle. Also Carol O'Dell, who has a book out called, MOTHERING MOTHER, and will teach narrative nonfiction.

Other presenters: Suzanne Adair, author of PAPER WOMAN; Judy Iakovou, author of the Nick and Julia Lambros mystery series and recently, a new book called BITTER TIDE; Todd Sentell, the first native of Georgia to publish a sports-related novel, TOONAMINT OF CHAMPIONS. Plus Haywood Smith, Bobby Nash, Ralph McInery, David Oates, Kelly L. Stone, Charles "Mike" Swanson (I had the pleasure of meeting him and Dac Crossley at the May 16 Marigold Festival in Winterville), Beverly Varnado, Alan Black, Susan Dansby, Lynette Eason, Juditj Geary, Alex Graves, and Milton Kahn.

In addition to all of those wonderful authors and experts, this year's Harriette Austin Writers Conference boasts an outstanding group of agents. There's Brandi Bowles of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency; Paul Fedorko of Trident Media Group; Jacqueline S. Hackett, founder of Literary Works; Chip MacGregor of the MacGregory Literary Agency, Maya Rock of Writers House, LLC; and Katie Sulkowski, the Literary Brand Manager for Creative Trust, Inc. If you're looking for an agent, you have an excellent choice at this year's conference.

Other editors include Patrick LoBrutto, a favorite presenter at this conference.

The Keynote Speaker this year will be noted author Robert Vaughan.

If you are a serious writer living in the Athens, Georgia area, or you're willing to travel here, take a good look at this year's Harriette Austin Writers Conference. They've got a complete listing of the workshops, background information on the presenters, and all the details, including an online registration link, on the website now: http://harrietteaustin.org/default.aspx

Check it out. Last year I found an agent at the Harriette Austin Writers Conference. Who knows? It could happen for you!

Winterville Marigold Festival

I live in a small Georgia town called Winterville. We have about 1,100 citizens here, give or take a Wintervillian or two. Starting in 1971, we held an annual Marigold Festival that brought thousands of people here and generated much good will while basically putting us on the map, so to speak. I worked on the festival committee and board for over ten years.

We discontinued the festival almost seven years ago when our committee dwindled to about five people. A few months ago we decided to bring the festival back. A new resident of Winterville, Emily Eisenman, headed up the new Marigold Festival and we relaunched the event on May 16. We brought back the Scholarship Pageant, parade, barbecue, arts and crafts and music, including the street dance featuring Danny Daniels and the Powerplay band. All over town, I've heard cheering and good comments on this rebirth of our beloved festival. To all who worked so hard to make this happen, I send out a great big thank you!