One of the great opportunities for local writers is a chance to take courses at the annual Cape Cod Writers Center Conference each August. Once situated at the picturesque Craigville Retreat Center, the conference now takes place at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis. In the past, I have studied with poets William Wenthe, Donald Baker and Gail Mazur, as well as taking a young adult writing seminar with Jacqueline Kolosov. Each class gave me fresh insights on the writing process, as well as inspiring me to try new writing techniques.
This summer the theme of the conference is “Inspired Storytelling by the Sea.” The classes encompass many genres of writing, including fiction, memoir, screenwriting, and, of course, poetry. For poets, there are several intriguing options. Kevin Pilkington will teach “Writing Publishable Poetry” and “Poetic Techniques for Prose.” He teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College and has won many awards.
Other classes that might appeal to poets include “Edit Yourself into Print” with Michael Carr, “A Premier of Self-Publishing,” with Stephanie Blackman and “Internet eBook Promotion” with Steve Manchester. Local poet and playwright Gregory Hishak will teach in the Young Writers Program along with Scott Bladen and James Kershner.
The 53rd Cape Cod Writers Center Conference will take place August 6-9, 2015. Keynote speakers this summer are Marge Piercy, an award-winning poet who lives in Wellfleet. Her most recent book of poems is Made in Detroit (Knopf, 2015). Claire Cook wrote her first novel at 45; her second novel, Must Love Dogs, became a major Hollywood movie. The Keynote Presentations will be held on Friday, August 7 from 7-8 p.m. with Marge Piercy in the Bass River Room and Saturday, August 8 from 6:15-7:15 p.m.with Claire Cook also in the Bass River Room. Both events are open to the public. . Note: Participant readings will follow Marge Piercy’s presentation on Friday, Aug. 7 from 8:30 – 10 p.m.
There will be agents available and manuscript evaluation/mentoring. For more information and to register online, visit www.capecodwriterscenter.org. A limited number of scholarships are available. Among them is the Kevin V. Symmons Scholarship for Second Career Writers. You may submit a letter by June 19 stating financial need, a ten-page writing sample (send as email attachments in word or RTF format only) and a registration form indicating your suggested courses. Requests will be reviewed wiith notication by July 7.
This conference offers the opportunity to meet fellow writers, take informative workshops and get help with manuscript development. There is also a conference bookstore which sells books by faculty and Cape Cod Writers Center writers. If you have some free time this summer, I highly recommend this conference as a way to jumpstart your writing.