Since grade school, Alice Wootson always liked writing poetry and reading romance novels – because of the happy endings. So, it was no surprise that the first book she wrote was a romance novel. But what was unexpected was that an agent rejected her work for being “too poetic to sell commercially.”
Before Wootson could get discouraged by this speedbump on her writing journey, an editor called her two days later asking if the manuscript for Snowbound with Love was still available. And that was the start of the Northwest Philadelphia resident’s writing career.
Wootson, who started writing after she retired from teaching, credits the instructions and feedback she received from workshop leaders, Gloria (Glo) and William (Bill) Delamar, at the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference (PWC) with helping her develop her storytelling ability and establishing a literary career. The PWC is now the longest running writers’ conference in America and will be celebrating its 68th annual assembly this weekend, June 10-12, at the Wyndham Hotel at 400 Arch Street.
For 10 years, Wootson looked forward to participating in this annual storytelling and publishing learning opportunity. By 2000, her enthusiasm and creativity gained her attention and an invitation to join the PWC board of directors.
The PWC offers workshops on short stories, poetry, plays, memoirs, novels, humor blogging, scriptwriting, query letters, opinion editorials or Op-Eds, social media, grammar, pitching to agents and editors, travel writing, spiritual writing and creating a digital brand, as well as writing competitions.
“The workshops are very helpful, relaxing, and exhilarating,” said Wootson, who conducts workshops at several writing conferences, is a member of the Mad Poets Society, belongs to the Romance Writers of America and the Valley Forge Romance Writers. “It’s great to hang out with other writers because you’re free to talk all day about writing. They get it.”
But the weekend isn’t all classes. Friday morning the conference opens with a message from Kelly Simmons, author of the popular novel Standing Still, addressing the question, “Are You a Writer?” After Friday night’s buffet dinner, agents and editors will head a panel sharing helpful publishing tips for would-be authors. The keynote speaker at Saturday’s banquet will be New York Times bestselling nonfiction writer and poet, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, who wrote Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, which was named one of the “Best Books of 2014” on seven national book lists, including Amazon. Some previous speakers at the conference were Pearl S. Buck, James Michener, Ed Rendell, Larry Kane, Nelson Johnson, Jennifer Weiner, Michael Smerconish, Mark Bowden, Stephen Fried, and Rachel Simon.
Wootson, who now has published 13 romance novels, and the rest of the PWC voluntary board of directors have been planning this weekend for a year and will continue working during this event beginning with the on-site registration and ending with the award presentations on Sunday afternoon.
For more information on the PWC and to register please go to http://bit.ly/1ZS86b7
Marsha Gilbert is the promotions and publicity chairperson for the PWC board of directors.