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Fifth annual Sanibel Island Writers Conference coming in November

By Staff | Sep 20, 2010

Florida Gulf Coast University invites aspiring writers to attend the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, to be held Thursday, Nov. 4 through Sunday, Nov. 7 at BIG Arts on Sanibel Island.

Participants can attend a variety of workshops, panels, lectures and readings presented by celebrated and experienced writers and teachers. The daily schedule is from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.


According to Tom DeMarchi, director of the Sanibel Writers Conference and instructor in the FGCU College of Arts and Sciences, “The conference is open to any aspiring writer who wants to create new work or refine a project already in progress. We invite anyone interested in reading, writing, and publishing to attend.”


Attendees participate in a variety of morning workshops in fiction, poetry, online publishing, humor, screenwriting, children’s literature, memoir, songwriting, and creative nonfiction.  Afternoon panels include workshops in publishing, freelance writing, journalism, obtaining a literary agent and the creative process. Each evening will feature readings and book signings with two to three authors, a keynote address from Augusten Burroughs, and a musical performance from Stanley Brinks.

Participants registered for the entire conference can attend all events. Specific afternoon events and all nighttime events are open to the general public. Capacity for nighttime events is 400. 


Presenters include celebrated writers Steve Almond, Lynne Barrett, Bonnie Jo Campbell, John Dufresne, Denise Duhamel, Beth Ann Fennelly, Tom Franklin, William Greenway, Karl Iagnemma, Walter Kirn, Campbell McGrath, John McNally, Debra Monroe, Keith Lee Morris, Robert Olmstead, Margo Rabb, Danielle Sellers and Robert Wilder.


Keynote speaker Augusten Burroughs chronicled some of his childhood experiences in the 2002 memoir “Running With Scissors,” which was later developed into a film. In addition to “Scissors,” Burroughs penned a second memoir, “Dry” (2003), about his experience during and after treatment for alcoholism. It was followed by two collections of memoir essays, “Magical Thinking” (2004) and “Possible Side Effects” (2006). His first novel, “Sellevision” (2000), is currently in production as a feature film.


Burroughs’s writing pokes fun at subjects such as advertising, psychiatrists, religious families, and home shopping networks. It has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, House and Garden, BlackBook Magazine, New York, The Times, Bark, Attitude, and Out. Burroughs writes a monthly column for Details. Early in his career, he was a regular commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Burroughs has been profiled in People, The Guardian and Entertainment Weekly, where he ranked 15 on the 2005 list of "The 25 Funniest People in America" and was named to the magazine’s "It List.” His Saturday evening keynote address is open to the public.


Stanley Brinks will conduct a songwriting workshop and perform a Friday night concert that is open to the public. After 10 years of recording and touring Europe and America with Paris-based Herman Düne, he left the band, moved to Berlin. His music ranges from completely acoustic traditional songs to more rock n’ roll projects, like his album with the Wave Pictures (a trio from the UK). Some of Brinks’s albums are Hoots, Horns In, Dank U, Bops a Zap, Cooks, Loiters, and Sings the Blues.  One of his many side projects is a Calypso duo with singer/songwriter Freschard called Kreuzberg Museum.  His albums are only available at shows.


Veteran political journalist and publisher Martin Tolchin and his wife, public policy specialist Susan Tolchin, will discuss their latest book Pinstripe Patronage: Political Favoritism from the Clubhouse to the White House… and Beyond on Saturday afternoon. Their discussion is open to the public.


Literary agents Lisa Gallagher and Christopher Schelling will discuss how they recruit clients and manage their careers. Literary editors Jeanne Leiby and Nick Marino will hold panels on choosing which authors to publish, and how much they edit.


To attend the entire conference, cost for participants is $350, which includes all workshops, panels, lectures and readings. Registration is limited to 150 participants on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration forms are available online at www.fgcu.edu/siwc.

For an additional $50, participants can meet privately with a writer or editor to discuss a maximum of 10 pages of a pre-submitted manuscript. Space is limited for individual manuscript consultations.

For additional information or to register for the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, contact Tom DeMarchi at 239-590-7421 or tdemarch@fgcu.edu, or visit the event’s website at www.fgcu.edu/siwc/.