Annual Writers Conference
Columbus State will hold its 18th annual writer’s conference on Saturday, April 30. The event will feature a keynote by poet Chiwan Choi, with additional workshops for writers. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. with the first session starting at 9 a.m.
April 30 2022
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Center for Workforce Development
Conference and Events Center Ballroom
FREE and open to the public
No registration required
9 – 10:15 a.m. Session
How can grief cohabitate with a chuckle?
Sometimes the monsters win
and we smirk anyway.
In this workshop, Zach Hannah wants to explore the levity in grief, and how we don't need to always shy away from it, with selected poets' works, testimony, and time to generate.
Are there emotions you shy away from in your writing? This workshop with poet Karen Hewitt will offer you a brave space to explore those emotions through personification. As a participant you will increase your awareness of the emotions present in the workshop space and expiriment with fun tactics to increase your curiosity about emotions in your writing. Come with a willingness to engage with writing prompts and other participants.
The Mighty Micro: Shaping Your Creative Nonfiction Using Small Forms
In this session, the award-winning essayist and poet, Sayuri Ayers, will introduce you to small creative nonfiction forms that pack a powerful punch. As a group, we will discuss the ins-and-outs of micro-memoir and flash essay, then create some of own mighty micros.
10:30-11:45 Session 2
All The Truths to Tell a Lie
Lies, as we have learned from the very first moment we made sure to shed tears to convince our parents that we had to stay home from school because we were too sick, are easiest to sneak past people when they are wrapped in as many true things as possible.
Inspired by the popular game, Two Truths and a Lie, this workshop will get writers focused on the hyper details of the facts, of the two truths, so our lie can pass through undetected.
The Story Inside of Me
You've thought about writing the book long enough, it's time to begin writing it!
Join Donte Woods-Spikes, Author of So. Long.: Unfinished Good-Byes with the Children of COVID-19 as he creates space for writers interested in creating personal narrative stories. In this session, Woods-Spikes will share how personal narrative has landed him on the TEDx stage and influenced his first book. Attendees will learn the basic skills of organizing their story and transitioning it to book format for readers to easily digest.
Real Talk: Using Dialogue to Tell Your Reader What Your Characters Won’t Say
Ernest Hemingway once said that good dialogue is not real speech-it's the illusion of real speech. When it’s executed believably, dialogue operates with resonance and subtlety, but candid exchanges of dialogue often fall flat people because rarely state what they really mean. The rhythm and structure of dialogue require nuance; complex emotion runs underneath like a stream under ice. This workshop will focus on how to use form and subtext to create dialogue that suggests—rather than announces--underlying conflicts between characters within a story.
Lunch is not provided. You're invited to check out a number of great downtown restaurants or brown-bag it.
Chiwan Choi is the author of 3 books of poetry, The Flood (Tía Chucha Press, 2010), Abductions (Writ Large Press, 2012), and The Yellow House (CCM, 2017).
He wrote, presented, and destroyed the novel Ghostmaker throughout the course of 2015. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, ONTHEBUS, Esquire.com, and The Nervous Breakdown. Chiwan is a partner at Writ Large Press and a member of The Accomplices.
Chiwan was born in Seoul, Korea, spent his early childhood in Asunción, Paraguay, and now splits his time between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. He is currently working on a new book, my name is wolf.
2:15 – 3:30 Session 3
Griefwork (and how we make joy)
What more can be said about grief that hasn't already? That it begins in the bones. That it too is made of electrons. That it will kill us if we don't make something of it. What is it that we make of our grief and how can we do that with our writing? With the understanding that sentimentality is a manipulation, how can we recognize different levels of audience and learn to better ask questions about grief in our poems? Things like who is doing the grieving in relationship to the poem? Is it you or the speaker? Of whom is grief expected in relationship to the reader? Beginning to ask complicated questions to better craft poems intent on transforming grief is key in recognizing the potential for joy and the realization that you can offer space for joy without neglecting your grief. We'll talk about ways these can coexist and become craft in your practice and how you can curate a healthy relationship to grieving on the page. We'll cover transforming grief, simultineity in poems, reckless joy, and the ethics of audience.
Writing about Mental Illness: The Stories We Tell and the Ones We Don't
From celebrities coming forward about their struggles with mental health to memoirists detailing the realities of living with various forms of mental illness, people are doing more than ever to dispel the stigma associated with mental illness and to put their experiences into words for both personal expression and public awareness. Because our mental health is such a vital part of who we are, many writers are interested in taking the intimidating dive into writing about their experiences. However, writing about these topics can feel terrifying. In this workshop, we'll open a dialogue about the benefits and potential obstacles and dilemmas around putting your story into words. This workshop will equip participants with some tools for approaching mental health writing and, above all, remind participants that their stories are theirs to own, craft, and (if they so choose) share in whatever form they find most appropriate.
* While this workshop is geared towards those with personal experiences with mental illness, addiction, or related experiences, all are welcome. Sharing in the workshop is not required. You are welcome to just come and listen.
In 90-minutes, we'll go through a variety of translation exercises that will give each participant at least five new first drafts. No knowledge of other foreign languages, besides English, is required (though is certainly welcome). Be prepared to work independently as well as with a partner.
3:45-4:30 Open Session in the Ballroom
Open Session in the Ballroom
Stick around after the workshops to chat with other writers and our presenters, or get a book signed. A Book Fair will be running the whole day.