21st Annual Pennwriters Conference

Joyce Carol Oates will be the keynote speaker for the 21st Annual Pennwriters Conference at the Host Resort in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Tickets for the May 16-18, 2008 event go on sale January 2, 2008, at www.pennwriters.org or by e-mailing the conference coordinator at conferenceco1@pennwriters.org for a registration form. Three-day conference packages start at $199 for members and $249 for nonmembers. After March 2, 2008, dinner tickets with Joyce Carol Oates will be sold separately from the conference at $65 for Pennwriters members and $99 for nonmembers..

Oates, who has been writing since age 14 and is now a creative writing professor at Princeton University, released her 36th book, The Gravedigger's Daughter, this year. Her dinner presentation on Friday evening, May 16, will include commentary on her books and the writing process as well as a question and answer session and a book signing.

Oates' presentation is one of many events during the three-day conference that are designed to introduce beginning writers to the world of publishing and to provide experienced authors with opportunities to network. The conference theme, "A Writer¹s Smorgasbord," reflects the rich traditions of Lancaster County and the diverse nature of writing as a career.

Included in the conference price is the opportunity for writers to pitch finished manuscripts to 10 well-established agents and editors in the publishing business. Among them are Irene Goodman, an agent who started as the assistant to Stephen King's editor 25 years ago and has since built her own agency in New York City, and Melanie Donovan, the executive editor of HarperCollins Children. These 10-minute pitches are designed to give writers the chance to bypass the traditional query letter process and present their work face-to-face.

Other agents scheduled to be at the conference include agents Ginger Clark from Curtis Brown, Ltd., Jessica Regel from Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, and Elaine P. English. Other editors include Editor in Chief Ginjer Buchanan from Ace/Roc, Associate Editor Paul Stevens from Tom Doherty Associates (Tor/Forge), Assistant Editor Tessa Woodward from Avon, and Editorial Director Jane Friedman from F+W Publications.

Hour-long workshops led by agents, editors, and published authors start Friday morning and continue throughout the weekend until Sunday at noon. Visiting authors include Jonathan Maberry, Bram Stoker award-winning author of Ghost Road Blues; Maria V. Snyder, winner of the 2006 Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, Poison Study; Timons Esaias, an Asimov's Reader Choice Award winner; and debut author D.L. Wilson, who will also speak during Saturday's luncheon.

Pennwriters is a statewide organization of more than 450 published and unpublished writers from Pennsylvania. Annual conferences are held in alternating years in Pittsburgh and either Harrisburg or Lancaster.

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