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Monday, May 12, 2008

Conference Countdown: The Overview


RIPLEY— West Virginia Writers, Inc. will hold its annual Summer Writers’ Conference, June 13-15 at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley. The 2008 conference is the 30th held by the WV Writers since 1978. The organization celebrated its own 30th anniversary last year

The conference will feature over 40 writing workshops and discussion panels on topics such as poetry, fiction and non-fiction, writing for children, screenwriting, romance writing, writing for radio, storytelling, grammar, memoir, comic book writing, and conventional and non-conventional publishing, among others.

Gretchen Moran Laskas, author of The Miner’s Daughter and The Midwife’s Tale, will lead a workshop on finding your voice as a writer, and one on editing your novel.

Charleston-based novelist Robert W. Walker will lead a two and a half hour intensive workshop on Execution and Craft, covering the basics of how to get a story in motion and keep it there, propelling readers to the end. The course will also cover ideas for fine-tuning as well as marketing and selling.

Christine Witthohn and Judith Ann Miramontez, literary agents with Charleston’s Book Cents Literary Agency, will be featured speakers. Their workshops will instruct attendees on the current state of the publishing industry, providing tips on the best ways to approach agents, editors and publishers, as well as providing a valuable workshop on query letters.

And in honor of the Romance Genre category from WV Writers’ Spring Writing Competition, this year, WV-based romance novelist Suzanne McMinn will be a featured presenter.

Other conference workshop presenters include: Marc Harshman, Dolly Withrow, Sandy Tritt, Robert Tinnell, Dr. John McKernan, Rich Knoblich, Jim Minick, Krista Fink, Llewellyn McKernan, Belinda Anderson, Cathy Pleska, Dr. Victor Depta, songwriter Pops Walker, Ethan Fischer, Carter Taylor Seaton, Bruce Cook, George Lies, and more.

The conference culminates June 14 with the organization’s annual awards banquet, announcing the winners of WV Writers spring contest. Gretchen Moran Laskas will be the keynote speaker for the banquet.

The price for the conference is $100 for all three days ($85 for members), $85 for two days ($70 for members), $45 for Friday only, $55 for Saturday only, $40 for Sunday only, and students receive 50 percent off adult prices. Membership for WV Writers Inc. is $20. Lodging is available both in Ripley and at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center, though early reservations are strongly recommended. Meals are also available on-site.

The latest information on the conference, including a full list of workshops and presenters as well as registration forms for both the conference and Cedar Lakes, can be found at the West Virginia Writers website, located at

WV Writers began in February of 1977, when a group of 25 writers gathered to discuss the need for a statewide collective of writers. The original purpose, as it has remained, is to assist communications between writers in the state and to promote not only writing in West Virginia but promote Appalachian writing in general. It has since grown into the state’s largest organization of writers, with over 350 active members.