Writers Conference comes to Steamboat for 37th year | SteamboatToday.com
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Writers Conference comes to Steamboat for 37th year

Editor’s note: The Steamboat Writers Group meets at noon every Thursday at the Depot Arts Center. This story has been updated to correct the day of the week the group meets. 

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Celebrating its 37th year, the Steamboat Springs Writers Conference will welcome writers from across the region to share stories and sharpen skills.

With approximately 40 attendees, the small and informal conference, which will held at the Depot Art Center this weekend, allows participants to attend all workshops together, and there’s a camaraderie that develops during the two-day event, said organizer Barbara Sparks.

During the Friday night meet and greet, the first 15 registrants to arrive get their “Five Minutes of Fame” – a chance to share their work in front of the whole group.

“People really look forward to that,” and try to arrive early to secure a spot, Sparks said.

From poets and essayists to young adult and academic writers, most of the participants are published.

“But there are always a few newbies who want to start writing,” Sparks added.

And they come from near and far, Sparks said, noting there are attendees from Florida, Arizona and Wyoming as well as across Colorado.

This year’s presenters include John Cotter and Rachel Weaver. Cotter has been published across a wide range of genres – from comics to ghost stories – and wrote the novel, “Under the Small Lights.”

“He brings new ideas to us,” said Sparks.

She describes him as a younger writer who is innovative, known for combining videos with his writing.

Cotter is currently working on a project exploring the dynamics of sound. His instructive sessions on Saturday focus on the use of different points of view, including free direct discourse, a type of third-person narration that also incorporates a character’s thoughts and feelings.

Weaver won the 2015 Willa Cather Award for Fiction for her novel, “Point of Direction,” which was named a Top 10 Title by Oprah Magazine. Her sessions cover the main stages for drafting a book and techniques on how to edit, evaluate and revise a manuscript.

“We are branching out a little more beyond the basics of writing,” Sparks said.

Both teach at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, which is the largest literary arts center in the Rocky Mountain West.

A popular new feature of the conference this year allows for a handful of participants to have Weaver critique their manuscripts.

A published academic writer herself, Sparks has attended the conference for more than a decade. She said she enjoys spending the day with a large group of other writers and having the chance to listen to and critique each other’s writing while learning more about the art and technicalities of the craft as well as the business side.

While the conference is not open to walk-ins, the weekly meeting of the Steamboat Writers Group is. It’s held at noon every Thursday at the Depot Arts Center. All are welcome and can share their work or just listen.

“There are a lot of writers in Steamboat,” Sparks said. “We hope the small conference we have each year shines a light on the fact we do have a strong community of writers here.”


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