Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Ridgefield Writers Conference in 2018

Inspiration and Imagination
Due to the overwhelming success of the 2017 Ridgefield Writers Conference, we are expanding the off-year open house to become an inspirational single-evening event on Friday, September 21, with a similar format as the two-day conference.

With the challenges of today's publishing climate and the pressures of writers' professional and personal lives, what is the writer's source of inspiration?
One answer may not be as difficult as it appears.
We'll explore that answer through our theme of Inspiration and Imagination.

Date, Time & Location
Friday, September 21
From 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Ridgefield Library
432 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT

Venue & Tentative Lineup for Inspiration and Imagination
Main Program Room and Dayton Program Room
6:30 p.m. - Introduction by Ridgefield Library
6:35 p.m. - Welcome by Ridgefield Writers Conference
6:40 p.m. - Keynote address on the topic of inspiration and author reading
7:00 p.m. - Readings by guest authors
7:15 p.m. - Wine and cheese reception with writer attendees, authors and guest publishers
7:30 p.m. - Moderated author Q&A panel with guests
8:00 p.m. - Author/editor breakout seminar-workshops

Application, Format & Fee
The application form for the 2018 conference will be available after April 1. Although writers will still need to apply for the conference, this year's event will take the format of an open-house, with a first come, first served basis. The registration fee will be $25 for the evening's keynote, readings, reception, panel, and author/editor breakout seminar-workshops.

General Information
More about the conference background and methodology is available in the sections below on the 2017 event. You'll also find more on the About Us page of the website.
For questions or more information:
Email Word for Words
Call 203.894.1908

Friday, September 8, 2017

2017 Ridgefield Writers Conference a Success — Thank You!

Thank you to all our conference faculty, presenters, keynote, coordinators — and writers — for making the fifth annual Ridgefield Writers Conference an instructive and inspirational time. Thanks also to our conference host — the Ridgefield Library. We look hope to work with you all again in the future.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Ridgefield Writers Conference

Welcome to the fifth annual Ridgefield Writers Conference in Ridgefield, Connecticut, hosted and co-sponsored by the Ridgefield Library and co-founded by Word for Words, LLC.

This year's expanded conference begins Friday, September 22, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with readings, author Q&A and networking reception. All are welcome to this open event.

The main conference events take place Saturday, September 23, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with workshops, keynote address, panels, readings, breakout sessions and a networking reception.

This year's conference offers new workshops and faculty, new breakout events and essential resources for writers.

Registration is open until September 1.

Conference Keynote Speaker: Dr. Carlos Eire

Dr. Carlos Eire
The fifth annual Ridgefield Writers Conference is delighted to announce as this year's keynote speaker the acclaimed Carlos Eire.

Dr. Eire is the author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, winner of the National Book Award in Nonfiction in the U.S. In this memoir, Dr. Eire explores the Cuban Revolution and offers an evocative look at Latin America from a child's experience.

His latest memoir, Learning to Die in Miami, continues the personal saga begun in Waiting for Snow and explores the exile experience in Miami during the Kennedy administration.

Dr. Eire received his Ph.D from Yale University. Before joining the Yale faculty, he taught at St. John’s University in Minnesota and the University of Virginia. He was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Conference Information

Conference Dates
  • Friday, September 22
  • Saturday, September 23
Hosted and Co-sponsored by the Ridgefield Library
Presented by Word for Words, LLC

Ridgefield Library (Upper Level)

Conference Location
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877

"We inspire writers to create stories that reveal their individuality and voice - so come share your love of the written word, make new connections and expand your literary horizons."
Rebecca Dimyan
Conference Faculty Coordinator
Conference Application
To access the conference application:
Peter Selgin
Jamie Cat Callan
Pete Nelson

Conference Schedule
Friday, September 22
Readings With Wine and Cheese Networking Reception
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Main Program Room - Lower Level
Free and Open to the Public

  • Introduction by Lesley Lambton, Ridgefield Library Adult Program Coordinator
  • Reading by award-winning author Peter Selgin
  • Reading by bestselling author Jamie Cat Callan
  • Reading by acclaimed writer and author Pete Nelson
  • Author panel Q&A
  • Networking with fellow writers, authors and conference coordinators

This event is free and open to the public and requires no registration for attendees. Guests should register via at Ridgefield Library Event Keeper. So come meet our authors, your fellow writers, and our conference faculty and staff. If you're attending the conference, feel free to bring a guest and to invite others to share the evening.

Ridgefield Library on Main Street

Saturday, September 23
Morning Schedule
8:00 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.: Registration - Foyer - Lower Level
8:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Information and Coffee - Main Program Room - Lower Level

Morning Workshop Schedule and Locations
Morning Workshops: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Peter Selgin - Advanced Nonfiction and Memoir
    Room 208 - Randolph Board Room - Upper Level
  • Hollis Seamon - Master Class in Fiction (Focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade)
    Room 112 - Kellen Family Children's Program Room - Main Level
  • Steve Otfinoski - The Artistry of Crafting Long and Short Fiction
    Dayton Program Room - Lower Level
  • Jamie Cat Callan - A Cat's Eye View of Writing Creative Nonfiction
    Room 212 Study Room - Upper Level
  • James M. Chesbro - Crafting Memorable Nonfiction and Personal Essays
    Room 213 Study Room - Upper Level
  • Adele Annesi - Windows on Your Work: The Art of Revision
    Main Program Room - Lower Level

Morning Keynote Address
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Carlos Eire
Carlos Eire, National Book Award Winner
10:45 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.
Main Program Room - Lower Level
Keynote Topic: "On Being Two Different Writers"
For writers of fiction, nonfiction and hybrids, Dr. Eire will discuss how his early and later life experiences informed the creative writing of his memoirs. The keynote will be followed by a moderated author Q&A.

Morning Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
11:15 a.m. to Noon - Main Program Room - Lower Level
Focus: What Writers Must Know About the Publishing Process
  • Gina Maccoby (Gina Maccoby Literary Agency)
  • Caroline Eisenmann (Frances Goldin Literary Agency)
  • David LeGere (Acquisitions Editor, Globe Pequot Press)
  • Eric Kampmann (President, Midpiont Trade Books)
  • Brian Jud (President, Bookmarketing Matters)
Ridgefield Main Street

Lunch Break
12 Noon to 1:15 p.m.
Downtown Ridgefield is home to a variety of shops, restaurants and eateries, including those with organic offerings, within a block or two of the Ridgefield Library.

Afternoon Workshop Schedule and Locations
Afternoon Workshops: 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • Peter Selgin - Advanced Nonfiction and Memoir
    Room 208 - Randolph Board Room - Upper Level
  • Hollis Seamon - Master Class in Fiction (Focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade)
    Room 112 - Kellen Family Children's Program Room - Main Level
  • Steve Otfinoski - The Artistry of Crafting Long and Short Fiction
    Dayton Program Room - Lower Level
  • Jamie Cat Callan - A Cat's Eye View of Writing Creative Nonfiction
    Room 212 Study Room - Upper Level
  • James M. Chesbro - Crafting Memorable Nonfiction and Personal Essays
    Room 213 Study Room - Upper Level
  • Adele Annesi - Windows on Your Work: The Art of Revision
    Main Program Room - Lower Level
Ridgefield Town Hall

Afternoon Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. - Main Program Room - Lower Level
Focus: Living and Thriving in the Writing Life
  • Joe Pan (Founder/Publisher, Brooklyn Arts Press)
  • Alec Shane (Junior Agent, Writers House)
  • Collin Hosten (Editor, Woodhall Press)
  • Regina Ryan (Literary Agent, Regina Ryan Books)
  • Nicole James (Literary Agent, Charlberg & Sussman)

Readings and Breakout Sessions
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Breakout Session Options
Our writer attendees are welcome to participate in and invite guests to one, two or all three of the following afternoon breakout sessions:
  • Open Mic Reading - Main Program Room (Lower Level):
    If you're attending the conference, sign up onsite to read your work to a friendly audience.
  • Young Writers in Residence - Room 208 - Randolph Board Room (Upper Level):
    Young writers and their supporters are welcome to join conference co-chair Rebecca Dimyan to discuss current opportunities for high school and college students, as well as recent college graduates, with guest speakers:
    - Sonya Huber, head of Fairfield University's MFA in creative writing program
  • What's Next in the Writing Life - Dayton Program Room (Lower Level):
    Emerging and established writers in all genres are welcome to join conference co-chair Adele Annesi for an open Q&A on next steps in the writing life with guests:
    - Valerie Leff of the Westport Writers' Workshop
    - Jennifer Sage-Robison of Amherst Writers & Artists
    - JoAnn Terdiman of The Westchester Review

Wine and Cheese Networking Reception
5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Main Program Room - Lower Level
Attendees, faculty, conference staff and all of your guests are invited to share the day's events and make those important last connections before the end of the day.

Conference Faculty and Workshops
Advanced Nonfiction and Memoir
Peter Selgin
This comprehensive advanced workshop in nonfiction and memoir features unique insights from acclaimed author, short story writer and professor of writing Peter Selgin. The workshop aims to help writers who have a substantial portion of a nonfiction manuscript or memoir to enhance and develop their work.

Peter Selgin is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, editor, and illustrator. A graduate of Pratt Institute and Bart College, Selgin has numerous accolades to his credit, including for his memoir in essays, Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Selgin's most recent work is the memoir The Inventors.

Master Class in Fiction (Focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade)
Hollis Seamon
This incisive fiction workshop will help writers better understand and develop the key elements of writing fine fiction. The workshop will pay special attention to the qualities needed for strong young adult and middle grade stories, and is well-suited for writers with a partial or completed manuscript.

Hollis Seamon is the author of the acclaimed young adult novel Somebody Up There Hates You, named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association and Best Teen Fiction from Kirkus Reviews. Seamon's accolades also include a New York Foundation for the Arts Fiction Fellowship; she also teaches for Fairfield University's MFA in creative writing program.

Steve Otfinoski
The Artistry of Long and Short Fiction
(Preparations for this workshop were made by Chris Belden. The workshop will be led by Steve Otfinoski.)
This elemental workshop is for emerging and established novelists and short story writers looking to bring fresh vision to their craft and stories. The workshop brings new insights to the key components and the nuances of fiction to inspire writers to enhance their work. As an added feature, the workshop will include insights on storylines and dramatic tension from those used in theater and live performance.

Bio (Steve Otfinoski)
Steve Otfinoski has published over 190 fiction and nonfiction books, many for the YA market. Also a playwright, Otfinoski penned "Mortal Friends," on the friendship of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, which received a staged reading at Ventfort Hall. Otfinoski's "Signing Off" will be performed in October 2017 at Torrington's Warner Theater as part of the International Playwrights Festival. Otfinoski is a member of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab and Squarewrights, which has staged his short works in their "Quickies" series, including at Stratford's American Shakespeare Festival Theater. Otfinoski holds an MFA from Fairfield University, where he teaches creative writing. He also reviews theater in the Berkshires for the New England Theatre Journal.
Chris Belden

Bio (Chris Belden)
Chris Belden is the author of two novels, Shriver and Carry-on, and the award-winning short story collection The Floating Lady of Lake Tawaba. His MFA is from Fairfield University, where he has taught English and writing. He also teaches at the Westport Writers' Workshop.
Jamie Cat Callan
A Cat's Eye View of Writing Creative Nonfiction
This creative nonfiction workshop will show writers how to use literary fiction techniques to present real ideas in vivid and compelling prose. The workshop also provides unique methods to explore the creative relationship between fiction and nonfiction.

Jamie Cat Callan is the bestselling author of French Women Don't Sleep Alone, Bonjour, Happiness! and Ooh La La! Her latest book, Parisian Charm School, will be released in 2018. She is also the creator of the Writers Toolbox and a teacher of creative writing.
Crafting Memorable Nonfiction and Personal Essays
James M. Chesbro
This workshop explores how to select and shape everyday events into compelling nonfiction and personal essays. The workshop will cover essential techniques, such as voice and point of view, as well as how to employ and polish these and other key elements to elevate your stories.

James M. Chesbro is an award-winning writer whose essays have been listed as notable selections in Best American Essays in 2012 and 2014. His work has also been published in Connecticut Review, The Huffington Post and The Writers Chronicle. Chesbro also co-edited You: An Anthology of Essays in the Second Person and has an MFA from Fairfield University, where he teaches English and writing.

Windows Into Your Work: The Art of Revision
Adele Annesi
It's been said there are no great writers, only great rewriters. This multigenre workshop will inspire emerging and established writers to see revision as a chance to re-envision their fiction and nonfiction stories and cultural narratives for new depth and publication.

Adele Annesi is an award-winning writer, editor and teacher, and co-author of Now What: The Creative Writers Guide to Success After the MFA. A former development editor for Scholastic Publishing and co-founder of the Ridgefield Writers Conference, Adele is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in various literary journals. She is also a professor of English and writing.

Application and Acceptance Process
The Ridgefield Writers Conference is geared to dedicated emerging and established writers of fiction, nonfiction and hybrids. To apply, writers must provide a one-page, double-spaced sample of their best work in the chosen genre. Acceptance is based on the order in which the application is received, the quality of the writing sample, and the fit of the submission for the workshop level and content.

To access the application:
Click on the Conference Application Page above.

You can also call 203.894.1908 with questions.

Agent Queries
Top literary agents are part of the morning and afternoon agent, editor and publisher panels, and conference attendees can submit a query letter to the agent(s) of choice following the conference. The query should be one page in length and should follow the guidelines on the agency website, with details specific to the agent(s) of interest. To query an agent, include "Referral: 2017 Ridgefield Writers Conference" in the subject line of your email.

The Ridgefield Writers Conference includes focused morning and afternoon agent, editor and publisher panels. To make the most of the panels and Q&A, visit the panelists' websites before the conference, and read about individual bios.

For more on agent queries, see the Literary Agents and Query Letters page of this website.

Payment for the conference is due on acceptance.
For early bird registration by July 1, the conference is $175.
After July 1, the conference is $195.
College students and faculty may qualify for the student/faculty rate of $150. To apply for the discount, please note your college or university and status on your application.

Morning Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
Focus: What Writers Must Know About the Publishing Process

Gina Maccoby
Gina Maccoby
Gina Maccoby Literary Agency
Gina Maccoby represents literary and commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction for adults and children, including New York Times bestselling and award-winning titles. She is captured by an engaging narrative voice and seeks strong storytelling and fresh perspectives. In fiction, she seeks upmarket novels, mysteries and thrillers, middle grade and young adult. In nonfiction, she seeks history, biography narrative journalism, current events and popular science. Gina is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Authors Guild. Prior to starting her agency in 1986, she was with Russell & Volkening, handling clients, as well as first serial, foreign and movie rights. Gina was graduated from Harvard College.

Caroline Eisenmann
Frances Goldin Literary Agency
Caroline Eisenmann is an associate agent at the Frances Goldin Literary Agency. Prior to joining in 2017, she spent four years at ICM Partners. Eisenmann represents adult upmarket and literary fiction, as well as nonfiction, including reported narratives, memoir, cultural criticism, essay collections, and history and biography with a surprising perspective. In fiction, she is drawn to work that centers around intimacy and its discontents, stories about obsession, and narratives that grapple with the current cultural climate.

David LeGere

David LeGere
David LeGere is an acquisitions editor at Globe Pequot Press and an adjunct professor of English at Fairfield University and the University of New Haven. LeGere is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and holds an MFA from Fairfield University's creative writing program.

Eric Kampmann
Eric Kampmann
Midpoint Trade Books
Eric Kampmann is president of Midpoint Trade Books, and president of Beaufort Books and Moyer Bell publishers. Kampmann has also worked for Simon & Schuster, St. Martin's Press and Viking Press. He has taught publishing courses at Columbia, Harvard and New York universities, and is the author of The Book Publisher's Handbook and The Insider's Guide to Successful Publishing.

Brian Jud

Brian Jud
Brian Jud is a founder of the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association and executive director of the Small Publishers Association of North America. He is also the head of Book Marketing Works and a former cable TV host on book publishing and marketing. He currently specializes in book marketing and distribution.

Afternoon Agent, Editor and Publisher Panel
Focus: Living and Thriving in the Writing Life

Joe Pan
Brooklyn Arts Press
Joe Pan
Joe Pan is the author of Hiccups (Augury Books) and Autobiomythography & Gallery (BAP). He is the founder and publisher of Brooklyn Arts Press, honored in 2016 with a National Book Award win. He serves as the fiction editor for the arts magazine Hyperallergic and is the founder of the services-oriented activist group Brooklyn Artists Helping.

Alec Shane

Alec Shane
Alec Shane has worked at Writers House Literary Agency since 2009, during which time he has provided strong editorial feedback for a vast variety of adult and young adult titles of all ranges and genres. Shane is actively seeking clients in the categories of horror, thrillers, mysteries, noir, young adult, and middle grade "boy" fiction, as well as beautifully crafted historical fiction. In nonfiction, he seeks humor, biography history and all things sports.

Colin Hosten

Colin Hosten
Woodhall Press
Colin Hostin is a co-founder and the editorial outreach manager of Woodhall Press in Norwalk, CT. Also a former assistant editor at Hyperion Books for Children and now an editor for Disney Publications, Hosten is a lecturer in the undergraduate writing program at Fairfield University. He is also a freelance writer and editor, and has worked in various editorial roles with Hallmark Books, Marvel Press and Welcome Table Press.

Regina Ryan
Regina Ryan
Literary Agent for Regina Ryan Books
Regina Ryan is head of Regina Ryan Books, a longstanding independent literary agency specializing in adult nonfiction. Co-founder of The Agents Round Table, Ryan also worked as an editor for Alfred A. Knopf and Macmillan Adult Books. Her interests include business, food, health, history, lifestyle, memoir, narrative nonfiction, natural history, the outdoors, parenting, psychology, science, self-improvement, travel and women's issues. Ryan is a member of the Association of Authors Representatives, the Authors Guild, PEN America and the Women's Media Group.
Nicole James

Nicole James
Charlberg & Sussman
Nicole James joined Charlberg & Sussman in 2013, from The Aaron Priest Agency, where she was an agent and foreign rights director, having sold international and New York Times bestselling and brand name authors, such as David Baldacci, Philip Caputo, Robert Crais and Greg Iles. In fiction, she currently seeks commercial, upmarket women's  and thrillers. In nonfiction, she seeks commercial, female-driven memoir, upmarket self-help and hip lifestyle. She also represents YA and select nonfiction, including pop-culture.

Conference Faculty and Onsite Coordinator
Rebecca Dimyan
Rebecca Dimyan
Rebecca Dimyan has a BA in English from Boston University and an MFA in creative writing from Fairfield University. She is a writer, professor and food journalist whose works have appeared  in various print and online publications, including 34th Parallel, The Ampersand Review, HelloGiggles, Vox and xoJane. Dimyan teaches writing at Fairfield University, Southern Connecticut State University and Quinnipiac University.

For More Information
The Ridgefield Writers Conference is organized and co-sponsored by Word for Words, LLC. Please contact us with questions or for more information.

12 Abbott Avenue
Ridgefield, CT 06877