Meet the 2018 Conference Presenters

What the presenters have to say about their upcoming CNFWC18 sessions

What the presenters have to say about their upcoming CNFWC18 sessions

As the 2018 Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference approaches, we thought it would be fun to take a few moments to introduce you to this year's stellar lineup of presenters. We asked our presenters to give us a little preview of what they'll be talking about later this month. They sent back so many terrific, insightful responses, and we can't wait to have all these talented writers, editors, and teachers in the same room!

It's not too late to register for the conference … but there are only 20 spots remaining before we're all sold out. 

Join us in Pittsburgh, PA, on May 24-26. Register here »

on Writing for Online & Digital Outlets // 
Friday, May 25 @ 1:30 pm

“To some, digital means 'fast' and 'short' specifically, which is and isn't true. Yes, digital outlets constantly post information and some of it is more timely than others, but that doesn't mean the writing of more developed ideas should be done quickly.” 

on Perfect Your Pitch // Friday, May 25 @ 4:45 pm

“I think internal resistance is why people delay pitching and don’t learn to do it. It can be a painful process, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a way to touch in to what you really care about. I want to encourage writers to use pitching to get closer to what they love.

on Interviewing // Saturday, May 26 @ 9:15 am

“Asking questions creates space for discovery, and it opens new avenues of thinking that the writer perhaps never even considered.”


on Beyond the "Me" in Memoir // Friday, May 25 @ 4:45 pm

“On top of crafting gorgeous prose, memoirs ask us to be honest — not just with readers but with ourselves. The best memoirists do this unflinchingly, but also with deep compassion.”

on Character Development // Friday, May 25 @ 1:30 pm

“The thing I love about characterization in nonfiction is how I actually gain a new perspective on a character’s motivations and desires the more I think through the story.”

on Transforming Essays into a Book // Saturday, May 26 @ 10:45 am

As we shape a collection into a book, we learn about ourselves, about those around us, and about the world we inhabit. We see with fresh eyes, and we complete the process different than we were when we began. This process of discovery, of finding, is what I love.”

on Writing the Tough Stuff // Saturday, May 26 @ 9:15 am

“Poorly made writing about loss hurls waves of sentiment at the reader. Well-made writing about loss uses specific, concrete detail to bring a reader into a moment. This takes courage, because you're going back to that tough place as a writer, and you’re acknowledging that it’s time to write—and share—your story.”

on The Lyric Essay // Friday, May 25 @ 1:30 pm

“You don't have to be a poet to write a lyric essay. In fact, the lyric essay is an especially juicy adventure for writers who are nervous about letting go of the story line, about trusting the music of language itself.”

on Flash Nonfiction // Saturday, May 26 @ 9:15 am

“Writing brief allows a writer to shake up old habits, try something new, shoot for something fresh and surprising.  Even if you fail twice, the third time might produce something memorable.”

on Building Scenes // Friday, May 25 @ 3:15 pm

“Scenes are where the story really comes alive on the page. As a reader, I love encountering scenes in nonfiction because it allows me to see and hear the characters interacting with the world. And as a writer, it's fun to recreate moments from my life to highlight what was moving, or maddening, or absurd about them.”

on Using History & Research to Tell a Better Story // Saturday, May 26 @ 3:15 pm

“History can deepen any creative nonfiction story.  Every one, and every story, has a past behind it, a past that shapes people and their ideas, and sometimes, a past they want to escape.  Understanding those pasts will provide depth and texture to our story telling.”

on Experimental Forms // Saturday, May 26 @ 10:45 am

“Experimental forms let us reimagine the logic of our stories and reflect more faithfully the complexity of our experiences.”


on The Ethical Boundaries // Saturday, May 26 @ 10:45 am

“I’m very interested in the levels of truth that populate nonfiction, and about the ways writers can (and ought to) signal readers as to which level they’re operating on.”

on Literary Magazines 101 // Saturday, May 26 @ 1:30 pm

“Nearly everyone wants to get published in the same prestigious journals, but those journals are not always the best fit for every writer. This means narrowing your search—talking to people, asking questions, doing research, and, of course, reading magazines.”