Friday, February 3, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Ridgefield Writers Conference

Welcome to the fifth consecutive Ridgefield Writers Conference in Ridgefield, Connecticut, hosted and co-sponsored by the Ridgefield Library and co-founded by Word for Words, LLC.

This year's comprehensive conference begins Friday, September 22, at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m., with readings, author Q&A and networking reception.

The main events take place Saturday, September 23, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with workshops, keynote address, panels, readings, breakout sessions and a networking reception. This year's conference offers new workshops and faculty, new breakout events and essential resources for writers.

Registration is now open.

Conference Keynote Speaker Carlos Eire

Dr. Carlos Eire
The fifth annual Ridgefield Writers Conference is delighted to announce as this year's keynote speaker the acclaimed Carlos Eire.
Dr. Eire is the author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, winner of the National Book Award in Nonfiction in the U.S. In this memoir, Dr. Eire explores the Cuban Revolution and offers an evocative look at Latin America from a child's experience.

His latest memoir, Learning to Die in Miami, continues the personal saga begun in Waiting for Snow and explores the exile experience in Miami during the Kennedy administration.

Dr. Eire received his Ph.D from Yale University. Before joining the Yale faculty, he taught at St. John’s University in Minnesota and the University of Virginia. He was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Conference Information

Conference Dates
Friday, September 22
Saturday, September 23

Hosted and Co-sponsored by the Ridgefield Library
Presented by Word for Words, LLC

Conference Location
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
"We inspire writers to create stories that reveal their individuality and voice - so come share your love of the written word, make new connections and expand your literary horizons."
Rebecca Dimyan
Conference Faculty Coordinator
Conference Application
To access the conference application:

Conference Schedule
Friday, September 22
Readings With Wine and Cheese Networking Reception
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Peter Selgin, Jamie Callan,
Pete Nelson
Main Program Room - Lower Level
Free and Open to the Public

  • Introduction by Lesley Lambton, Ridgefield Library Adult Program Coordinator
  • Reading by award-winning author Peter Selgin
  • Reading by bestselling author Jamie Cat Callan
  • Reading by acclaimed writer and author Pete Nelson
  • Author panel Q&A
  • Networking with fellow writers, authors and conference coordinators

This free event is open to the public and requires no registration.
So come meet our authors, your fellow writers, and our conference faculty and staff. If you're attending the conference, feel free to bring a guest and to invite others to share the evening.

Saturday, September 23
Morning Schedule
8:00 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.: Registration - Foyer - Lower Level
8:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Information and Coffee - Dayton Program Room - Lower Level

Morning Workshop Schedule and Locations
Morning Workshop Schedule: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Peter Selgin - Advanced Nonfiction and Memoir
    Room 112 Kellen Children's Program Room - Main Level
  • Hollis Seamon - Master Class in Fiction (Focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade)
    Room 208 Boardroom - Upper Level
  • Chris Belden - The Artistry of Crafting Long and Short Fiction
    Dayton Program Room - Lower Level
  • Jamie Cat Callan - A Cat's Eye View of Writing Creative Nonfiction
    Room 213 Study Room - Upper Level
  • James M. Chesbro - Crafting Memorable Nonfiction and Personal Essays
    Room 232 Study Room - Upper Level
  • Adele Annesi - Windows on Your Work: The Art of Revision
    Main Program Room - Lower Level

Morning Keynote Address
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Carlos Eire
10:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. - Dayton Program Room - Lower Level
Moderated Author Q&A

Morning Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
11:15 a.m. to Noon - Dayton Program Room - Lower Level
Focus: What Writers Must Know About the Publishing Process
  • Gina Maccoby (Gina Maccoby Literary Agency)
  • Allison Dickens (Senior and Freelance Editor)
  • David LeGere (Globe Pequot Press)
  • Eric Kampmann (Midpiont Trade Books)
  • Brian Jud (Bookmarketing Matters)

Lunch Break
12 Noon to 1:15 p.m.
Downtown Ridgefield is home to a variety of restaurants and eateries, including those with organic offerings, within a block or two of the Ridgefield Library.

Afternoon Workshop Schedule and Locations
Afternoon Workshop Schedule: 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • Peter Selgin - Advanced Nonfiction and Memoir
    Room 112 Kellen Children's Program Room - Main Level
  • Hollis Seamon - Master Class in Fiction (Focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade)
    Room 208 Boardroom - Upper Level
  • Chris Belden - The Artistry of Crafting Long and Short Fiction
    Dayton Program Room - Lower Level
  • Jamie Cat Callan - A Cat's Eye View of Writing Creative Nonfiction
    Room 213 Study Room - Upper Level
  • James M. Chesbro - Crafting Memorable Nonfiction and Personal Essays
    Room 232 Study Room - Upper Level
  • Adele Annesi - Windows on Your Work: The Art of Revision
    Main Program Room - Lower Level

Afternoon Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. - Dayton Program Room - Lower Level
Focus: Living and Thriving in the Writing Life
  • Joe Pan (Brooklyn Arts Press)
  • Alec Shane (Writers House)
  • Collin Hosten (Woodhall Press)
  • Diana Finch (Diana Finch Literary Agency)

Readings and Breakout Sessions
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Our writer attendees are welcome to participate in and invite guests to one, two or all three of the following afternoon breakout sessions:
  • Open Mic Reading - Main Program Room (Lower Level): If you're attending the conference, sign up onsite to read your work to a friendly audience.
  • Young Writers in Residence - Dayton Program Room (Lower Level): Young writers and those who support them are welcome to join conference co-chair Rebecca Dimyan and guest speakers.
  • What's Next in the Writing Life - Boardroom (Upper Level): Emerging and established writers of fiction, nonfiction and hybrids are welcome to join conference co-chair Adele Annesi and guest speakers for an open Q&A.

Wine and Cheese Networking Reception
5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Main Program Room - Lower Level
Attendees, faculty, conference staff and all of your guests are invited to share the day's events and make those important last connections before the end of the day.

Conference Faculty and Workshops
Saturday workshop spaces are limited. Sign up early to reserve your place.
Advanced Nonfiction and Memoir (Limited to Six Attendees)
This comprehensive advanced workshop in nonfiction and memoir features unique insights from acclaimed author, short story writer and professor of writing Peter Selgin. The workshop aims to help writers who have a substantial portion of a nonfiction manuscript or memoir to enhance and develop their work.
Peter Selgin is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, editor, and illustrator. A graduate of Pratt Institute and Bart College, Selgin has numerous accolades to his credit, including for his memoir in essays, Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Selgin's most recent work is the memoir The Inventors.

Master Class in Fiction (Focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade)
This incisive fiction workshop will help writers better understand and develop the key elements of writing fine fiction. The workshop will pay special attention to the qualities needed for strong young adult and middle grade stories, and is well-suited for writers with a partial or completed manuscript.
Hollis Seamon is the author of the acclaimed young adult novel Somebody Up There Hates You, named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association and Best Teen Fiction from Kirkus Reviews. Seamon's accolades also include a New York Foundation for the Arts Fiction Fellowship; she also teaches for Fairfield University's MFA in creative writing program.
The Artistry of Long and Short Fiction
This elemental workshop is for emerging and established novelists and short story writers looking to bring fresh vision to their craft and stories. The workshop brings new insights to the key components and the nuances of fiction to inspire writers to enhance their work.
Chris Belden is the author of two novels, Shriver and Carry-on, and the award-winning short story collection The Floating Lady of Lake Tawaba. His MFA is from Fairfield University, where he has taught English and writing. He also teaches at the Westport Writers' Workshop.
A Cat's Eye View of Writing Creative Nonfiction
This creative nonfiction workshop will show writers how to use literary fiction techniques to present real ideas in vivid and compelling prose. The workshop also provides unique methods to explore the creative relationship between fiction and nonfiction.
Jamie Cat Callan is the bestselling author of French Women Don't Sleep Alone, Bonjour, Happiness! and Ooh La La! Her latest book, Parisian Charm School, will be released in 2018. She is also the creator of the Writers Toolbox and a teacher of creative writing.
Crafting Memorable Nonfiction and Personal Essays
http://jamesmchesbro.comThis workshop explores how to select and shape everyday events into compelling nonfiction and personal essays. The workshop will cover essential techniques, such as voice and point of view, as well as how to employ and polish these and other key elements to elevate your stories.
James M. Chesbro is an award-winning writer whose essays have been listed as notable selections in Best American Essays in 2012 and 2014. His work has also been published in Connecticut Review, The Huffington Post and The Writers Chronicle. Chesbro also co-edited You: An Anthology of Essays in the Second Person and has an MFA from Fairfield University, where he teaches English and writing.

Windows Into Your Work: The Art of Revision
http://www.adeleannesi.comIt's been said there are no great writers, only great rewriters. This multigenre workshop will inspire emerging and established writers to see revision as a chance to re-envision their fiction and nonfiction stories and cultural narratives for new depth and publication.
Adele Annesi is an award-winning writer, editor and teacher, and co-author of Now What: The Creative Writers Guide to Success After the MFA. A former development editor for Scholastic Publishing and co-founder of the Ridgefield Writers Conference, Adele is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in various literary journals. She is also a professor of English and writing.

Application and Acceptance Process
The Ridgefield Writers Conference is geared to dedicated emerging and established writers of fiction, nonfiction and hybrids. To apply, writers must provide a one-page, double-spaced sample of their best work in the chosen genre. Acceptance is based on the order in which the application is received, the quality of the writing sample, and the fit of the submission for the workshop level and content.

To access the application:
Click on the Conference Application Page above.

You can also call 203.894.1908 with questions.

Agent Queries
Top literary agents are part of the morning and afternoon agent, editor and publisher panels, and conference attendees can submit a query letter to the agent(s) of choice following the conference. The query should be one page in length and should follow the guidelines on the agency website, with details specific to the agent(s) of interest. To query an agent, include "Referral: 2017 Ridgefield Writers Conference" in the subject line of your email.

The Ridgefield Writers Conference includes focused morning and afternoon agent, editor and publisher panels. To make the most of the panels and Q&A, visit the panelists' websites before the conference, and read about individual bios.

For more on agent queries, see the Query Letter Information page of this website.

Payment for the conference is due on acceptance.
For early bird registration by July 1, the conference is $175.
After July 1, the conference is $195.
College students and faculty may qualify for the student/faculty rate of $150. To apply for the discount, please note your college or university and status on your application.

Morning Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
Focus: What Writers Must Know About the Publishing Process

Gina Maccoby
Gina Maccoby Literary Agency
Gina Maccoby represents literary and commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction for adults and children, including New York Times bestselling and award-winning titles. She is captured by an engaging narrative voice and seeks strong storytelling and fresh perspectives. In fiction, she seeks upmarket novels, mysteries and thrillers, middle grade and young adult. In nonfiction, she seeks history, biography narrative journalism, current events and popular science. Gina is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Authors Guild. Prior to starting her agency in 1986, she was with Russell & Volkening, handling clients, as well as first serial, foreign and movie rights. Gina was graduated from Harvard College.

Allison Dickens
Allison Dickens has worked in publishing for over 20 years. As a senior editor for divisions of Penguin and Random House, she acquired mostly women's fiction and narrative nonfiction.She is also a freelance editor and leads an advanced fiction workshop for the Westport Writers' Workshop in Westport.

David LeGere
David LeGere is an acquisitions editor at Globe Pequot Press and an adjunct professor of English at Fairfield University and the University of New Haven. LeGere is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and holds an MFA from Fairfield University's creative writing program.

Eric Kampmann
Eric Kampmann is president of Midpoint Trade Books, and president of Beaufort Books and Moyer Bell publishers. Kampmann has also worked for Simon & Schuster, St. Martin's Press and Viking Press. He has taught publishing courses at Columbia, Harvard and New York universities, and is the author of The Book Publisher's Handbook and The Insider's Guide to Successful Publishing.

Brian Jud
Brian Jud is a founder of the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association and executive director of the Small Publishers Association of North America. He is also the head of Book Marketing Works and a former cable TV host on book publishing and marketing. He currently specializes in book marketing and distribution.

Afternoon Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
Focus: Living and Thriving in the Writing Life

Joe Pan
Joe Pan is the author of Hiccups (Augury Books) and Autobiomythography & Gallery (BAP). He is the founder and publisher of Brooklyn Arts Press, honored in 2016 with a National Book Award win. He serves as the fiction editor for the arts magazine Hyperallergic and is the founder of the services-oriented activist group Brooklyn Artists Helping.

Alec Shane
Alec Shane has worked at Writers House Literary Agency since 2009, during which time he has provided strong editorial feedback for a vast variety of adult and young adult titles of all ranges and genres. Shane is actively seeking clients in the categories of horror, thrillers, mysteries, noir, young adult, and middle grade "boy" fiction, as well as beautifully crafted historical fiction. In nonfiction, he seeks humor, biography history and all things sports.

Colin Hosten
Colin Hosten is a co-founder and editorial outreach manager of Woodhall Press in Norwalk, Connecticut. Also a former assistant editor at Hyperion Books for Children and currently an editor for Disney Publications, Hosten is a lecturer in the undergraduate writing program at Fairfield University, as well as a freelance writer and editor, and has held editorial positions at Hallmark Books, Marvel Press and Welcome Table Press.

Diana Finch
Diana Finch has run her own literary agency in New York for 13 years, after working with the Ellen Levine Literary Agency, and before that with Sanford Greenburger Associates, having started her career at St. Martin's Press. Finch handles fiction, young adult fiction and nonfiction. Many of her clients are journalists, writing on topics ranging from memoir to narrative nonfiction to popular science, politics, parenting, psychology and environmentalism, from all angles, lifestyle to business. Active in selling translation rights for her clients to foreign publishers, Finch attends the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs, and chairs the International Committee on the Association of Authors Representatives.

Meet the Conference's Faculty and Onsite Coordinator
Rebecca Dimyan
Rebecca Dimyan has a BA in English from Boston University and an MFA in creative writing from Fairfield University. She is a writer, professor and food journalist whose works have appeared  in various print and online publications, including 34th Parallel, The Ampersand Review, HelloGiggles, Vox and xoJane. Dimyan teaches writing at Fairfield University, Southern Connecticut State University and Quinnipiac University.

For questions during the conference, see Rebecca Dimyan.

For More Information
The Ridgefield Writers Conference is organized and co-sponsored by Word for Words, LLC. Please contact us with questions or for more information.

12 Abbott Avenue
Ridgefield, CT 06877