Quotes from Past Attendees
Now in its 5th year, the CNF Writers' Conference has hosted hundreds of writers.
Here's what a few of them had to say about their experience.
"The content of the conference was perfect for me and the staff was friendly and helpful. ... Lee Gutkind's presentation on the future of creative nonfiction and how it is integrated into law, medicine, and immersion writing for magazines gave me a pathway for my future as a creative nonfiction writer." - Mary Black
"This was my first conference. It was invaluable to my development as a writer. I learned how to pitch my project, start a new project, use fiction techniques to write compelling nonfiction, and work with an editor. ... I didn't think I had anything to learn from the memoir workshop [but] it was just the kick in the rear I needed." - Edda Fields-Black
"A corrective for the isolation of writing. Loved the focus on being a writer in the world, not just at my desk. Loved the balance of practical publishing advice to writing techniques. ... The community building aspect was excellent." - Juanita Ramsey-Jevne
"Practical, informative, inspirational, and gave me techniques and strategies I can directly apply to my own work." - Donna Cameron
"I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the instructors and other conference participants on a smaller scale, and Dinty Moore's workshop was interactive and engaging. It was definitely helpful to take apart a couple sample essays with him." - Dina Relles
“All 3 days were packed with information, insights, and inspiration. The conference was very well organized in terms of the speaker lineup, the schedule's timing and mix of topics, and the physical arrangement of the room and the breakout-session rooms. All CNF staff were always friendly and helpful. Lee Gutkind's presentation & delivery were spellbinding. My private meeting with Emily Loose: possibly life-changing." - Susan A. Haynes
“I try to budget for one writing conference every year, and this was the best one I have attended so far. The information was great and there was a lot covered, but I didn't feel burned out. ... I really liked the opportunity to network and socialize (the free drink was a nice touch as well). The discussions on craft were phenomenal. I have a lot of background and experience in creative nonfiction, but I still learned a lot. I also like that there was an emphasis on application; not only did I learn concepts, the sessions gave me great ideas for revisions or writing new work.” - Melissa Grunow
“Hattie Fletcher knows a lot about editing, and the quality of writing that needs to be submitted when one is thinking of publication. She conveyed that in her presentation in a clear, and congenial, manner. Overall, a rewarding and pleasant experience. Thank you all for making it happen.” - Charles Padron
“I enjoyed that each aspect of the writing process and writing life was addressed--the craft, the publication, and the community. I felt that writers of all levels were welcomed, and I felt that I was in just the right spot with my own work to gain maximum benefit.” - Jason Griffith
“As a young writer it was so inspiring and nice to hear from well known authors, publishers, and editors. It's wonderful to see things from the other side and get some advice from people who know what they're doing. It was really a great experience. Everything I wanted to learn was there. The guest speakers were great and everything was fantastic.” - Allison Dushack
“It was refreshing to have the entire audience focused on creative nonfiction. My normal writing group at home has a mixture, and this specialization was a great change of pace. As a result, I felt we were all talking the same language.” - Tim Glinski
“Every speaker gave me something different and enlightening in their own way. Like reading a good book, each speaker drew me in and told me their story, a story that was meant to teach me something about writing creative nonfiction.” - Arlene Clear
“I always felt that my graduation from the University of Pittsburgh was incomplete. Not only did I graduate in December with no ceremony, but I never felt fulfilled in my poetry classes, like I was just trying to fit in. Nonfiction at the time was just for newspaper and magazine writing which was not for me either. I left the conference feeling like I finally knew where I belonged...and just as I left the university club on Sunday, the 2014 Pitt graduates were just leaving soldiers and sailors in their cap and gowns! It was an amazing feeling. It took 36 years to find myself but that's what it felt like after the weekend.” - Lainy Carslaw
“I flew a long way to attend this conference from my home base in Germany ... and in general I am happy I made the investment in time and money to attend. I am a huge fan of CNF and Brevity, as both provide me with incredible teaching material that works well with my L2 students.” - Peggy Preciado
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