If you’re wondering what this conference is all about, one of the best ways we think you can find out is to read some of the things people blogged about after last year’s conference. All of these were written by panelists from last year’s conference, but none of them are from conference organizers, so we feel like they’re at least a little bit unbiased. Check it out:
Laura Ellen Scott on “The Identity of a Conference”
“In 2009, the DC-based one day writers conference called Conversations & Connections was dealt a blow when their keynote speaker, Amy Hempel, called in sick the morning of the event. Hempel’s appearance had been a big draw—the conference sold out early—and it was expected to bestow instant prestige. Her presence would convey a writing-from-the-academy endorsement to scoot the fledgling conference down the path to success. Despite her absence (which prompted the on-site booksellers to bail early), the conference was marvelous, but its organizers were shaken. In 2010 they took a gap year to recover and rethink.
April 16, 2011 marked the stunning return of Conversations and Connections. Held at Johns Hopkins DC campus and organized by The Baltimore Review, Barrelhouse, and Potomac Review, this year’s C & C was unlike any conference I’ve ever attended. For one thing, Steve Almond was the keynote speaker, and he blew us away. I won’t give a blow-by-blow account here, but the event focused on art, communication, and support in a way that is especially pertinent to people like me who want nothing more or less than to be part of new literature. I know that’s a fuzzy explanation, so perhaps it helps to point out that I only encountered one intellectual property troll.
If the 2011 program suggests a trajectory of cool for the future of Conversations & Connections, then I think we all benefited from Hempel’s head cold. I asked Dave Housley, one of the editors at Barrelhouse, if he thought so too…”
Rae Bryant on Writer Interaction:
This last Saturday, I was in D.C. at the Conversations and Connections: Practical Advice on Writing conference, sponsored by Barrelhouse, Baltimore Review, Potomac Review, and Johns Hopkins University, funded in part by Poets and Writers.
Independent presses, editors, writers, rain, possible tornado, and a lot of books. This conference comes only a few months after the mammoth AWP Conference in February, an overwhelming and necessary and stimulating affair. I have to say, however, that Conversations and Connections had an intimacy I very much prefer. Opening remarks by Dave Housley (Barrelhouse) and Susan Muaddi Darraj (Baltimore Review) set the tone of the conference — practical, professional, accessible, and fun.