SDSU writers’ conference returns to inspire

by Sarah Tanori, Senior Staff Writer

Each year, hundreds of writers from as far as Japan, South America and Switzerland congregate in San Diego for a renowned conference meant to help kick-start careers in the writing industry. From Jan. 22 to 24, San Diego State will hold its 32nd annual Writers’ Conference at the Marriot Hotel in Mission Valley.

The conference serves largely as a source of inspiration and motivation for its participants. Several writers come to hear the stories and experiences of successful authors who were once in their position.

Stephanie Diaz, young adult author of science fiction book “Extraction” and SDSU alumna, will be returning to the conference for her second year as a panelist.

“I went to SDSU Writers’ Conference hoping for inspiration, and that’s exactly what I found in workshops taught by Jonathan Maberry and other successful authors,” Diaz said. “I attended the conference as a panelist and was able to share my path to publication with aspiring writers.”

Diaz also noted learning more about world building and the craft of writing from sitting in on other panels.

This year, keynote speakers include Richard Curtis and Tracy Sherrod. Curtis is a literary agent and the president of Richard Curtis Associates, Inc. Sherrod is the editorial director of Amistad and HarperCollins Publishers.

The event not only provides speakers and panels, but there’s also the opportunity for consultations and break-out sessions with literary agents and publishers. With these tools, aspiring authors can receive feedback on manuscripts and ideas while getting hands-on practice with the information they are learning during the conference.

Sessions include fiction, nonfiction, career and craft panels among others.

“It’s important to see real-world applications of these various types of writing,” rhetoric and writing studies junior Sarah Bentley said. “In addition, making connections in these fields is always an important asset when it comes to finding work after graduation. A lot of people take their basic requirements for RWS and never really see what else the department has to offer, but this event will definitely be great exposure for anyone interested in writing.”

The SDSU Writers’ Conference is a chance for aspiring authors to come together in a collective love of writing and dream of publication. It is as much a learning experience as it is a networking event for writers to meet and connect with professionals.

“It offers the awesome opportunity for aspiring authors to get to meet and chat with agents and editors one-on-one, to get personal feedback on your manuscript,” Diaz said. “This is one of the best ways to learn about your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and is sure to set you on the course to success.”

Registration is $549 at the door, if space allows.