Special Program / The 2017 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference (Archived Landing Page)

2017 Conference Schedule


In today's publishing climate, personal stories driven by a strong first-person voice are taking on the most important topics of our time. Meaning: your story matters more than ever.

Join us for two days exploring the art, craft, and business of creative nonfiction with authors, agents, book publishers, and editors from some of the most thoughtful magazines in America, including Esquire, Harper's, New Yorker, Paris Review, Creative Nonfiction, and more.

See the full schedule for:
Friday | Saturday | Keynote

Friday, May 26th

8 am // Check-in, Breakfast, and Opening Remarks
Pick up your conference materials and join us for hot breakfast, coffee, and tea.

9:30 am // Presentation
Personal. Public. Published.
The founding editor of Creative Nonfiction gets the conference rolling with a presentation on the power of story. // LEE GUTKIND

10:30 am // Morning Breakout Sessions
On Craft
Choose from multiple concurrent craft-based sessions focusing on:

> Characterization // CHRIS GIRMAN
> Interviewing // ANDREW CONTE
> Memory & Memoir // JAMIE BRICKHOUSE
> Research & Fact-checking // MAGGIE MESSITT & ADRIANA E. RAMIREZ
> Structure  // ANJALI SACHDEVA

12 pm //  Lunch Break 
Explore all that downtown Pittsburgh has to offer and see why it was rated the #1 Food City in 2015 by Zagat.

1:30 pm // Afternoon Breakout Sessions
On Publishing
Choose from multiple concurrent publishing-focused sessions:

> Book Proposals 101 // NADINE KENNEY JOHNSTONE
> Writing for the Web // TORIE BOSCH & DAN PIEPENBRING

3:15 pm // Roundtable Discussion
Engaging Your Audience, Raising Your Profile & Self-Promotion
Writers, editors, and publicists discuss everything from social media to booking your own author tour. // JAMIE BRICKHOUSE, NADINE KENNEY JOHNSTONE & MAGGIE MESSITT

5 pm // Keynote Panel
The State of the American Magazine
Friday culminates with a panel on "The State of the American Magazine" with ROBERT P. BAIRD (articles editor, ESQUIRE), CRESSIDA LEYSHON (senior editor, NEW YORKER), JAMES MARCUS (editor-in-chief, HARPER'S), DAN PIEPENBRING (web & nonfiction editor, PARIS REVIEW), and ILENA SILVERMAN (features editor, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE).

7 pm // Reception
Literary Cocktail Hour & Keynote Reception


Saturday, May 27th

8 am // Breakfast 
Get your day started with a hot breakfast, coffee, and tea.

9 am // Panel
Finding a Publisher that Cares About Your Book
Agents, book editors, and authors discuss their evolving publishing landscape and finding the best home for your book project. // CALLIE GARNETT, ANNE HOROWITZNADINE KENNEY JOHNSTONE, ADAM KEIPER & CHESTON KNAPP

10:45 am // Panels
Choose from one of the following:

Ask a Book Editor
Professional editors take your questions about everything from proposals to publication. // CALLIE GARNETT, ADAM KEIPER & CHESTON KNAPP

Ask a Magazine Editor
Professional editors take your questions about everything from pitching to publication. // ROSS ANDERSENROBERT P. BAIRD, CRESSIDA LEYSHON & JAMES MARCUS

Creative Allies: The Writer-Editor Relationship
A longtime writer/editor pair discuss the give-and-take process of working together. // MAGGIE JONES & ILENA SILVERMAN

12 pm //  Lunch Break
Tour the Center for Media Innovation

2 pm // Panels
Choose from one of the following:

Literary Magazines from A to Z
What are they? How do they work? And why would you want to publish in them? // HATTIE FLETCHER, CHESTON KNAPP, DAN PIEPENBRING & DINTY W. MOORE

Writing Beyond Stereotypes
Tips for crafting compelling, nuanced characters and stories. // JASWINDER BOLINA, ADRIANA E. RAMIREZ & IRA SUKRUNGRUANG

Writing about Science & Technology for a General Audience
Learn how to translate data and jargon into a compelling narrative. // ROSS ANDERSENTORIE BOSCH & ADAM KEIPER

What Writers Need to Know about the Law
Best practices for avoiding defamation, plagiarism, and more. // RONALD BARBER & CRIS HOEL

3:30 pm // Roundtable
The Writer as Activist: Making Your Story Matter
Writers, editors, and journalists discuss stories with the power to cause change. // JASWINDER BOLINAJAMIE BRICKHOUSE, ANDREW CONTE, JAMES MARCUS & ADRIANA E. RAMIREZ

5 pm // Farewell
Advice & Inspiration
The presenters from CNFWC17 close with uplifting messages and their best advice for writers

Quick links:
Conference Home   |   Register   |   Schedule   |   Presenters   |   FAQs
Hotel & Travel Accommodations   |   Venue   |   Praise for Past Conferences

Questions? Contact our Events Manager, Lauren Boehm, at [email protected].

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