Stuff to Know

Hi Everybody –

This is Dave Housley from Barrelhouse. If you’re getting this, then you signed up for Conversations and Connections Philadelphia on September 22. Thanks for signing up! We’re looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

This is just an email to pass along some information about the conference. I’ll be sending another email mid-week, with a link to a survey where you can indicate which panels you think you might want to attend. The purpose of the survey is just to make sure we put the sessions that are likely to be most popular in the largest rooms. You don’t need to sign up for specific sessions, and on the day of the conference, you can attend whatever sessions you like.


The big news is we have a slight location change. We’re still right downtown, and we’re still at the University of the Arts, but instead of being at the Gershman Y, we’ll be at Terra Hall, which is at 211 South Broad. We’ll be on the 17th floor. We’ll have people in the lobby who will steer you in the direction of the elevators and help you with anything you might need.

Here’s the UArts page, which has a map and directions and – most importantly – information about public transportation:

Again, we’re at Terra Hall, at 211 South Broad. See you there bright and early on Saturday.

Okay, so here’s some other stuff you might need to know about:


There’s a schedule up on the website and unless anything goes totally kooky, we’ll stick pretty close to it. That’s here:


Registration will start at 8:15. It won’t take very long, so you don’t need to leave yourself a whole lot of time for this. When you come in, we’ll ask for your name and we’ll have a packet ready for you. Your packet will have the schedule, and sheets that you’ll use to choose your book (more on those below) and your lit mag subscription. These sheets are how we balance our budget and make sure we get the right money to the right presses/mags, so they’re important, and we’ll harp on them a little bit in the welcome.

We’ll have your name on our check-in list. You shouldn’t have to worry about bringing along a ticket or anything like that.

We’ll be taking walk-in registrations the day of the conference, so if you know anybody who wants to go, please tell them to come on in and we’ll be happy to take their checks, cash, or credit cards. The more the merrier.

Speaking of that, we’ll have a brief welcome around 9, and we’ll give you any information you’ll need to get around the conference, and we’ll probably re-state some of the things said in this email. Then we’ll be in full on, shuffle from one thing to the next conference mode. All of the conference sessions and events are in the same building, so it should be pretty easy to figure out what’s what.


With your conference registration, you can choose one of four books. We have brief descriptions and relevant links for each book up on the site, so you can check that out in advance if you’d like:

Chris Newgent from Vouched Books ( will be on-site running the conference books and asking you for those aforementioned sheets, and selling books from conference panelists and from his own Vouched table. There will be loads of awesome books available, so we hope you’ll bring along some extra cash and check out the Vouched table. Chris will be there during registration and the welcome, and throughout most of the day.
In more awesome book news, The Spiral Bookcase bookstore from Manayunk will be on-site selling Stewart O’ Nan’s books before and after the keynote.


We’ll get some of those big Starbucks things and will be selling coffee at the conference for $1 a cup. You’re also welcome to bring your own, of course.


Okay, so parking is probably going to suck. The conference is right downtown and you all probably know how parking goes in downtown Philly. If you’re driving, please allow plenty of time for driving around and getting angry. The good news is that you could wind up on that show Parking Wars ( The bad news is you could be late and, well, you could drive around for awhile being angry, and most of the people on Parking Wars don’t come off looking so great. Here’s a map, for what it’s worth, of parking locations near the conference (as we’re sure you can tell, this is Google’s information and not ours):,-75.163586&spn=0.011104,0.026157&sll=39.948893,-75.164057&sspn=0.011104,0.026157&near=211+S+Broad+St,+Philadelphia,+PA+19107&geocode=CTmU-Id_c3HNFV2SYQIdZxaF-ylPtbFkJcbGiTHp0rR7xNtLcw&hq=Parking&t=m&z=16



The SEPTA bus numbers that run there are: 4, 27, 32.

The Market-Frankford subway also runs near there. Get off at the 13th or 15th st. stops

Here’s one of our attendees emailing back with some great local scoop on public transportation: 

I am local and can verify that the 4, 27 and 32 buses stop right there on Broad St. The building is pretty close to the corner of Broad and Walnut and the 9, 12, 21, and 42 buses stop close by on Walnut.

If anyone takes the Market-Frankford line, they’ll need to walk south about 2 blocks. Broad St. is right between 13th and 15th.

The Broad Street Subway, which runs along Broad Street (surprise surprise), also stops very close to Terra Hall.

Finally, if anyone is taking a train (aka Regional Rail), they would get off at Suburban Station where they can exit anywhere from 15th to 17th streets.


Speed dating and lunch will be held at the same time, from roughly noon until roughly 2:15. We think this will give you plenty of time to do both.

Lunch is on your own and there are plenty of options very close to the conference.

Speed dating is always a kind of organized chaos, so we’ll ask in advance for your patience and sense of humor. One ticket to speed dating is included in with your registration, and additional tickets are available at the conference for $5 each. Note that all of this money goes directly to the literary magazines and small presses who will be participating in speed dating. If you speed date with an editor, that literary magazine just made five bucks. It doesn’t sound like much, but man, it’s hard to make this lit mag thing work from a financial point of view, so every little bit helps. Below is a summary of what speed dating is and how it works.

What you need to bring: a poem, a flash fiction story, or a few pages of a longer story or essay.

How it works: You’ll be matched up with an editor from the appropriate genre, so poetry editors will ready poems, nonfiction editors will read nonfiction, etc. What you CAN’T do is request a date with a specific outlet. That’s just not a thing that’s possible within the logistics of the conference. The editor will read your work and provide immediate feedback. The session lasts for 10 minutes.

About lining up and writer-herding: there’s a fair amount of lining up and queuing and writer-herding that has to happen during speed dating. We’ll ask you to form three lines – one each for poetry, fiction, nonfiction. At the beginning of each session, we’ll bring in enough people to fill the room and make sure every available editor has a “date.” Then we’ll cut off the line and let the editors and writers do their thing. Ten minutes later, we’ll clear the room and do it all over again. This will go on for more than two hours. Lots of people will choose to buy another ticket and get back in line. Some will choose to go somewhere more peaceful, with less milling about and shouting, and that’s cool, too. We just want to give you a fair idea of what this will be like. We try to make sure it’s as organized as possible, but there’s a little chaos in its DNA, so again, we’ll ask for your patience and humor, and it will all be cool.


Hopefully nothing goes kooky, but if it does, we’ll be getting information out through our Twitter and Facebook accounts. That’s in addition to actually talking for real with people who are actually there at the conference. If you think you’d feel more comfortable knowing anything there is to know, or seeing photos of the Barrelhouse editors drinking, sleeping, and waking up, then you might want to stay connected via the following:




The conference is filling up but it’s not sold out yet. If you know anybody who might be into it, please let them know and encourage them to come. It’s going to be awesome. Thanks!


Wow, this is a really long email! Sorry about that. If there’s something I forgot to cover – surely possible – or if you have any other questions, feel free to email back to this address and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as possible.

It’s going to be a great day on Saturday! Thanks again for signing up, and we’re really looking forward to seeing everybody.

See you soon!


Dave Housley

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