We haven’t really done a conference “theme” for a few years now, but I still like to look through the classes each year and see any patterns or trends that might appear. This year, perhaps because of the weird political climate, it seems we are thinking a lot about secrets….and truth.
We have Harriet Millan showing how to use fiction to capture the truth in your writing. Sheree Bykofsky, reveals the six secrets of successful authors. Doreen McGettigan exposes the truth about writing memoir. Therese Halscheid ask the question is it better for you to reveal the truth or conceal your secrets? And Thom Nickels explores the magical mystery in how newspapers can feed your non-fiction work.
Even the workshops that don’t directly deal in secrets or truth, get into the act. We have a heavy emphasis on the thriller genre this year (Jon McGoran, Austin Camacho, and Master Class Leader Robert Blake Whitehill), and what better way to kick off a killer thriller than to reveal (or obscure) secrets? Poet Peter Murphy helps you break through the secrets of the abstract, and Chrys Tobey teaches you to reveal truths about society in your poetry. Opening speaker Yolanda Wisher will deliver you into the rhythmic secrets of blues poetry in her master class, and Keynote Speaker J.H. Sullivan will reveal the harsh truths overcome by her great-grandfather in post-reconstruction Virginia.
And perhaps this emphasis on secrets and truth is fitting, for aren’t we as writers eternally balanced between the two? Many non-writers watch us as we lock ourselves in our rooms or sit silently in the dark corners of the coffee shop and must think we live secret lives. Fiction writers share secret worlds that have sprung up inside them. Journalists scour the shadows to illuminate the truths, and memoirists reveal the secrets that led people to choose the paths they followed. In a way, we as writers have always been the true keepers of secrets, the true revealers of truths. And perhaps in this crazy world, it is us, the scribes of the seen and unseen, who are the ultimate owners of both.
I’d like to think so. And I’d like to invite you to this years’ Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. Join us, on Friday, June 9th and share in our secrets, discover new truths, and take your place as the owner of both.
Hope to see you in June!