9:00 – 10:30
Writing Things That Encourage Kids To Be Good Humans
(and won’t make their parents leave the room)
In this presentation, participants will receive tips on how to write engaging, fun works for audiences that encourage character-building. Our goal is to present kid-centered work that is clear and entertaining but doesn’t talk down, and fosters discussion between children and adults.
LYNNE STREETER CHILDRESS is a playwright, actor, teaching artist, singer, director, and the founder and artistic director of Building Better People Productions, a professional theater company based in Annapolis, MD, that does shows for young audiences all based in themes of kindness, respect and the things that make us all better people. This is her 27th year in professional theater, with much of that experience in theater for young audiences. This includes performing at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage and Adventure Theatre, and teaching for institutions like the Folger Shakespeare Library. Through all those experiences, Lynne has seen firsthand how theater can communicate the most important things in the clearest and most interesting of ways, especially to young people. Lynne lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and son.
10:45 – 12:15
Exploring Grief Writing
I have come to believe that if you can write grief as you truly experienced it, you can write anything. Together in a warm and supportive space, we’ll explore safe entrance ways into grief stories and ways to end them meaningfully, even if we haven’t found closure for similar personal experiences. We’ll look at how sound and structure can be used to communicate feeling; what might constitute “change” in a grief story; consider new ideas on sentimentality and reader resistance; and learn ways to care for ourselves as we tell these important stories.
DIANE ZINNA received her MFA from the University of Florida and has taught creative writing for over a decade. She was the longtime membership director for AWP, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which hosts the largest literary conference in North America each year. In 2014, Diane created the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, helping to match more than six hundred writers over twelve seasons. Since the start of the pandemic, Diane has led popular grief writing sessions every Sunday for writers of all levels of experience. The All-Night Sun, her first novel, was long-listed for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Cabell First Novelist Award. In 2020, Diane received the ArtsFairfax Artist Grant, and her work appeared at Electric Literature, LiteraryHub, Brevity, and Monkeybicycle. Diane lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband and daughter.
1:45 – 3:15
Crash Course in the Lyric Essay
Join essayist Randon Billings Noble for a crash course in the lyric essay. What makes an essay “lyric?” What are the benefits of using imagery and intuition to explore a line of thought instead of narrative and exposition? In this session we will discuss the possibilities and pleasures of the lyric essay. We will read short examples, look at some of the myriad forms a lyric essay can take (like flash, braided, and hermit crab), consider the ways form can intensify content, and do some sketching towards a lyric essay of our own. Participants will leave with a new understanding of the lyric essay as well as a list of places to read and publish them.
RANDON BILLINGS NOBLE is an essayist. Her collection Be with Me Always was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2019 and her anthology of lyric essays, A Harp in the Stars, is forthcoming from Nebraska in October 2021. Other work has appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times, The Rumpus, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. Currently she is the founding editor of the online literary magazine After the Art and teaches in West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA Program and Goucher’s MFA in Nonfiction Program. You can read more at her website, www.randonbillingsnoble.com.
3:30 – 5:00
Light: The Backdrop of Our Memories
Attendees will have a chance to brainstorm new ways of accessing memories that can inspire their creative nonfiction. In this session, writers will use prompts related to different lighting, such as dawn, dusk, golden hour, moonlight, candlelight, and spotlight, that may have been the backdrop to meaningful moments in their lives. Along with these prompts, attendees will learn experimental strategies, such as ambiguity, perspective, and form.
LIZZY SOLOVEY holds an M.A. in the Teaching of English from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a B.A. in English Language and Literature from University of Maryland, College Park. She participated in the 2017 Kenyon College Writing Workshop, taught high school English for four years, and led creative writing courses, “Unleash the Writer Within: Creative Writing for the Soul” and “Unleash the Memoir Within,” in Baltimore, MD. Lizzy believes not only that everyone is a creative writer, but also that everyone can use creative writing as a way to heal. She encourages writers to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or join her writing group, Unleash the Writer Within, on Facebook.