Washington Writers Conference Recap
- Y.S. Fing
- May 13, 2016
Why you should’ve been at Books Alive 2016!
The Washington Independent Review of Books' 4th annual Washington Writers Conference was a resounding success! The event kicked off Friday, April 29th, with a vibrant happy hour attended by over 100 authors, wannabe writers, and agents. The highlight of the evening was the "How to Pitch to an Agent" panel, where the standing-room-only crowd learned insider tips from agents Jennifer Weltz, Claire-Anderson Wheeler, and Kirsten Carleton.
Saturday morning, following an early panel on query-writing, the Independent’s president, David O. Stewart, offered opening remarks to some 275 attendees in the packed ballroom. Plenary sessions — including “Books and Books: An Industry Overview” and “To Market, To Market: Self-Publishing and E-Books” — were capped off with “The Plot Thickens: Conspiracy Theory in Fact and Fiction,” a conversation between Mark Olshaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Stephen Hunter.
During lunch, bestselling “unauthorized” biographer Kitty Kelley received the Independent’s Lifetime Achievement Award — and a standing ovation. Then Bob Woodward — who admits waking up each morning asking himself, “What are the bastards hiding?” — took to the podium and gave a funny, Washington-insider keynote talk about politics, writing, and the tenacity it takes to hunt down the truth.
Afternoon break-out sessions on baseball writing, memoirs, thrillers, historical nonfiction, “books to film,” and small presses offered the wisdom of pros from Paul Dickson, Donna Britt, and Dina Gold to Neely Tucker, Ron Childress, and Hal Bock.
Throughout the day, the pitch room buzzed as attendees met one-on-one with three or four of the 22 agents on hand. Aspiring (and published) authors lined up excitedly for each five-minute chat, and many left the room with smiles on their faces and requests for chapter samples in their hands.
Overall, the conference was precisely what it advertises to be: a time when all writers, from beginners to veterans, can come together to learn, commiserate, and share their love of the craft. So mark your calendar for April 28-29, 2017, because you won’t want to miss the next one! Watch our site for details!