Loading…
Conversations and Connections Pittsburgh 2022 has ended

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Saturday, October 29
 

9:00am EDT

Welcome and Opening Remarks
We'll welcome everybody and talk through some logistics for the day. 

Saturday October 29, 2022 9:00am - 9:15am EDT
Welker Room, James Laughlin Building 5798 West Woodland Drive, Pittsburgh, PA

9:30am EDT

ONLINE: The Editor's Panel
What do editors hate? What do they love? Should you stress out about your cover letter? Is there really a "good rejection?" This panel features veteran editors answering these and other questions and generally pulling back the curtain to show you what really happens behind the scenes.  

Speakers
avatar for Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn

Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn

Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn is the Editor-in-chief of The Rumpus and an assistant professor of creative writing at Warren Wilson College. Her debut essay collection, A Fish Growing Lungs (2020), was a finalist for the Believer Awards in nonfiction, and her work has appeared in various... Read More →
avatar for Erin Fitzgerald

Erin Fitzgerald

Erin Fitzgerald has served as a staff editor for several online literary magazines. Currently, she’s a Barrelhouse Write-in host who lives in western Connecticut, and on Twitter at @gnomeloaf.
avatar for Hannah Grieco

Hannah Grieco

Hannah Grieco is a writer, editor, and teacher in Washington, DC. Her work can be found in a wide variety of publications, both literary and freelance, and she edits novels, prose collections, and anthologies. She is an editor at Alan Squire Publishing, in Bethesda, Maryland, and... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 9:30am - 10:30am EDT
Online Track (Zoom)

9:30am EDT

What Does a Literary Agent Do, and Do I Need One?
A panel of literary agents discuss the importance of an agent's role in a writer's creative life, offer advice for how and when to find an agent who is right for you.

Speakers
avatar for Rachel Ekstrom Courage

Rachel Ekstrom Courage

Rachel Ekstrom Courage is a literary agent at Courage Literary.Rachel spent over a decade as a NYC-based book publicist, first working on mysteries and thrillers for Minotaur in the historic Flatiron building, then assuming a directorial role for Penguin’s Dutton and Gotham imprints... Read More →
avatar for Danielle Chiotti

Danielle Chiotti

Danielle Chiotti has worked in publishing for nineteen years. Formerly an editor, she joined Upstart Crow when it was founded in 2009. Her clients include Story Prize winner and National Book Award Finalist Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, WVU Press), 2021 Kirkus... Read More →
avatar for Lauren Bajek

Lauren Bajek

Lauren Bajek is an agent at Liza Dawson Associates, where she represents adult speculative and literary fiction and adult nonfiction. She is a former bookseller and bookstore buyer, a writer, a parent, and a born-and-raised Midwesterner.


Saturday October 29, 2022 9:30am - 10:30am EDT
Beckwith Auditorium, lower level Buhl Building

9:30am EDT

Writing Imagery That Pops
As citizens of a digital world, today’s readers are drawn toward immersive imagery, but we don’t need to strap on a headset to sink into virtual reality. This interactive session explores specific techniques to create cinematic, multiverse effects when the only tools we have are words. We’ll write, share, and laugh, and you’ll leave with multiple scene/poem seeds.  

Speakers
avatar for Amanda Hart Miller

Amanda Hart Miller

Amanda Hart Miller’s work has appeared in Bartleby Snopes, PANK, Literary Mama, Scissors & Spackle, and elsewhere. She holds a Master of Arts in Fiction Writing from Johns Hopkins University, and she works as a Professor of English at Hagerstown Community College in Maryland... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 9:30am - 10:30am EDT
Buhl 024

9:30am EDT

How Thinking Like a High Schooler Can Reinvigorate Your Writing Practice
All writers have their habits and obsessions: those subjects, forms, and—especially—genres we circle back to again and again. Breaking out of those habits from time to time can be an opportunity to find new joy and energy in your writing practice. In this craft talk, I will share how teaching creative writing to (often reluctant) high school students pushed me to learn to write in genres outside my poetry background, rediscover play and low-stakes creativity, and hone the craft of my poems in unexpected ways. We will write—and draw—using specific prompts and exercises from my classes that I found fruitful in my own writing practice and discuss the ways that writing exercises that feel impossibly far from our wheelhouses can push us to see something new or find new modes of expression.  

Speakers
avatar for Sarah Beddow

Sarah Beddow

Sarah Beddow is a poet, educator, wife, and mother. She is the author of Dispatches from Frontier Schools (Riot in Your Throat), a memoir-in-prose-poems, and the chapbook What's pink & shiny/what's dark and hard (Porkbelly Press). Her essays and poems have appeared in Bone Bouquet... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 9:30am - 10:30am EDT
Buhl 026

9:30am EDT

Finding Your Community In Person and Online
Deepen your writing life by socializing your writing! We'll explore what it means to be a good literary citizen and discuss ways to find both resources and your place in the literary community. Connect with other writers, support your local literary scene, and develop your craft. Leave the session with concrete tips for finding your people.

Speakers
avatar for Tuhin Das

Tuhin Das

Tuhin Das is a Bengali poet currently living in the U.S. He comes from Barishal, a city in south-central Bangladesh. He was involved in the little magazine movement and has edited several literary magazines. Over the last twenty years, his poetry criticism articles, short stories... Read More →
avatar for Sarah Shotland

Sarah Shotland

Sarah Shotland is the author of the novel Junkette and the non-fiction project Abolition is Everything. Her shorter work has been published in The Iowa Review, Creative Nonfiction, Baltimore Review, and elsewhere. She is the director of creative writing at Carlow University... Read More →
avatar for Lesley Rains

Lesley Rains

Lesley recently joined the University of Pittsburgh Press as Publicity Manager after a decade in bookselling.  In 2011, she opened the East End Book Exchange (now White Whale Books & Coffee) and in 2016 she joined City of Asylum as their Bookstore Manager.  She grew up in Mt. Lebanon... Read More →
avatar for Heather McAdams Caldwell

Heather McAdams Caldwell

Heather McAdams Caldwell is the publisher at Bridge & Tunnel Books, an independent literary press in Pittsburgh that publishes new and experimental work from local writers. She is also the content strategist at Littsburgh. She has a BA in English from Cornell University and an MA... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 9:30am - 10:30am EDT
Buhl 028

10:45am EDT

ONLINE: Untitled: The Art of Titling Your Novel, Memoir, Story, Essay, and Poem
Many writers call themselves “bad” at titling their own work, and few writing workshops focus on finding that perfect title for the piece under consideration. Yet we’re told that an agent or editor is making quick decisions about whether to keep reading…shouldn’t a title grab their attention? This interactive talk will focus on why titling is tricky; consider what a “good” title might achieve; and explore the differences in titling various genres and forms.

Speakers
avatar for Leslie Pietrzyk

Leslie Pietrzyk

Leslie Pietrzyk’s collection of linked stories set in DC, Admit This to No One, was published in 2021 by Unnamed Press. Her first collection of stories, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Short fiction and essays have appeared in, among others, Ploughshares... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 10:45am - 11:45am EDT
Online Track (Zoom)

10:45am EDT

Queer Your Writing (no matter what you write)
What can “the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning” of queerness offer our writing? What are the limits? (Are there limits?) Join a panel of queer, trans and nonbinary writers & editors for a craft workshop on how to queer your work, no matter your genre.

Speakers
avatar for Nikki Z Richard

Nikki Z Richard

Nikki Z Richard is a multifaceted queer artist with immense moods and mystical coping mechanisms. Her debut YA novel, Demon in the Whitelands, was published by Month9Books in September 2019. Her short stories and poems have also been published in literary journals and anthologies... Read More →
avatar for jason b. crawford

jason b. crawford

jason b. crawford (They/Them) is a writer born in Washington DC, raised in Lansing, MI. Their debut Full-Length Year of the Unicorn Kidz is out from Sundress Publications. crawford holds a Bachelor of Science in Creative Writing from Eastern Michigan University and is the co-founder... Read More →
avatar for Anthony Moll

Anthony Moll

Anthony Moll is a queer poet, essayist and educator. They are the author of Out of Step: A Memoir, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Non/Fiction Collection Prize. Anthony holds an MFA in creative writing & publishing arts from University of Baltimore, and they are currently... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 10:45am - 11:45am EDT
Buhl 024

10:45am EDT

Dialogue, Detail, and Characterization: Breathing Real Life Into Stories
In any writing genre, the effective art of conversation—dialogue—is essential to creating scenes, characters, and worlds. What people say must sound like how people actually talk, whether you're from Pittsburgh, Pasadena, or Poughkeepsie, or it's just recitation. Getting the dialogue right is a practice that can be learned with as little effort as paying attention in everyday life, with examples. In the same vein, all the little details of characters and scenes are as important as dialogue. Details are the unspoken building blocks of characterization and setting. I'm always asking questions in books: If the man just got into his car, what kind of car is it? That might help illuminate the character. Conversely, too much detail, or at the wrong time, isn't good. I don't have to know the car was a Chevrolet Suburban in Premier trim with Cherry Red Tintcoat and premium wheels. That becomes product placement ... and that will be addressed as well. Finally, direct and indirect characterization is really the details of those who populate a story and reflect their worlds. This also requires a careful balance so as not to seem like exposition. Attending this workshop will provide actionable insights into making writing better with the STEAL Method: Speech, Thoughts, Effects on others, Actions, and Looks.

Speakers
avatar for Daniel Charles Ross

Daniel Charles Ross

Daniel Charles Ross—DCR—grew up in and around metro Detroit. He's a retired U.S. Navy Reserve Chief Petty Officer with 24 years, with a previous seven-year stint in the U.S. Army as a criminal investigator. His civilian career included stops as Detroit Editor at Popular Mechanics... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 10:45am - 11:45am EDT
Buhl 028

10:45am EDT

Creative Cross-Training, or, Finding Essay Ideas in Bad Drawings, Spotify Playlists, and Reality TV
Athletes have long understood the value of cross-training: lifting weights can make you a faster runner; practicing yoga can improve your cycling form. Writers can benefit from the same kind of exercise, strengthening our creative muscles and finding new approaches to our work by exploring other mediums, whether painting or playing music or quilting. This generative workshop will offer ideas to build a creative cross-training practice. We'll work through several prompts inspired by other creative mediums and you'll leave with a handful of essay sparks, plus an entirely new way of thinking about where to look for ideas and inspiration.  

Speakers
avatar for Marissa Landrigan

Marissa Landrigan

Marissa Landrigan is the author of The Vegetarian's Guide to Eating Meat, and her essays have appeared in numerous journals including The Rumpus, Orion, Creative Nonfiction, The Atlantic, and Diagram, among others. She is an Associate Professor of Writing at the University of... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 10:45am - 11:45am EDT
Buhl 026

10:45am EDT

Working With An Indie Press: Conversations Between Author and Editor
Are you thinking about publishing with an independent press but don't know the first thing about it? Ask editors and authors of SFWP and Mason Jar Press all of your questions! What is the process? What are the financial arrangements? What kind of support will you receive? Is it a stepping stone to bigger and better? We will answer and give the best advice you'll ever hear.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Tager

Michael Tager

Michael B. Tager is a Baltimore-based writer and editor. He is the Managing Editor of Mason Jar Press, an independent publisher of high-quality books. Publications include jmww, Uncharted Mag, Necessary Fiction, Hobart, and Barrelhouse, among others. He is uncomfortable but not worried.Michael is also a freelance editor and writer. Think about dropping him a line with work or praise. H... Read More →
avatar for Monica Prince

Monica Prince

Monica Prince is the author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman: A Choreopoem ([PANK], 2020), Instructions for Temporary Survival (Red Mountain Press, 2019), and Letters from the Other Woman (Grey Book Press, 2018), and her next choreopoem, Roadmap, will be published by SFWP in... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 10:45am - 11:45am EDT
Beckwith Auditorium, lower level Buhl Building

12:00pm EDT

ONLINE: Writer inclusivity and diversity in the Literary Community
Diversity and Inclusivity: Experiences in the Literary Community and World of Publishing a panel for collective discussion and questioning that is cross-genre and dedicated to understanding the ways in which we as a community can and should be more inclusive and diverse and the steps being taken to increase representation. This panel will be facilitated by ideally a few panelists of diverse backgrounds. An initiation of dialogue is key to the facilitation of inclusivity and diversity beyond tokenism and brown washing.

Speakers
avatar for A.R.Salandy

A.R.Salandy

Anthony Salandy is a Black Mixed-race poet & writer who has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. Anthony's work has been published over 230 times internationally. Anthony has 3 published chapbooks titled 'The Great Northern Journey' 2020 (Lazy Adventurer... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT
Online Track (Zoom)

12:00pm EDT

Speed Dating and Lunch
Speed dating with editors is in Beckwith Auditorium.
Lunch is on your own. 

Saturday October 29, 2022 12:00pm - 2:00pm EDT
Beckwith Auditorium, lower level Buhl Building

1:00pm EDT

ONLINE: Write-In
The Write-In is a loosely guided "alone together" writing exercise. 

Speakers
avatar for Erin Fitzgerald

Erin Fitzgerald

Erin Fitzgerald has served as a staff editor for several online literary magazines. Currently, she’s a Barrelhouse Write-in host who lives in western Connecticut, and on Twitter at @gnomeloaf.


Saturday October 29, 2022 1:00pm - 2:00pm EDT
Online Track (Zoom)

2:15pm EDT

Featured author reading and QA
Saida Agostini, Cameron Barnett, John Vercher, and Wendy Wimmer will read from their featured books and take your questions. 

Speakers
avatar for John Vercher

John Vercher

John Vercher lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and two sons. He holds a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Mountainview Master of Fine Arts program, and served as an adjunct faculty member at Chestnut Hill College... Read More →
avatar for Cameron Barnett

Cameron Barnett

Cameron Barnett is a poet and teacher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Drowning Boy's Guide to Water, winner of the Autumn House Press 2017 Rising Writer Contest, and finalist for the 49th NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. His second... Read More →
avatar for Saida Agostini

Saida Agostini

Saida Agostini is a queer Afro-Guyanese poet whose work explores the ways Black folks harness mythology to enter the fantastic. Her work is featured in Plume, Hobart Pulp, Barrelhouse, Auburn Avenue, amongst others. Saida’s work can be found in several anthologies, including Not... Read More →
avatar for Wendy Wimmer

Wendy Wimmer

Wendy Wimmer writes from Wisconsin, under the strict supervision of two dogs and a cat. She holds a Master of Arts and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, respectively. Her work has been published in Barrelhouse, Waxwing, Paper... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 2:15pm - 3:45pm EDT
Welker Room, James Laughlin Building 5798 West Woodland Drive, Pittsburgh, PA

4:00pm EDT

ONLINE: Be Writing; developing your creative practice
William Faulker said, "Don't be a writer, be writing." One can learn about writing, study it, discuss it, analyze it, but the most important thing will always be the actual act of arriving at the page and putting something down. This one-hour workshop is for writers of all levels to work on cultivating their own writing practice -- different kinds of journaling exercising, prescriptive writing, ways to break writer's block, and other generative practices. This approach to writing views language as a way of being in the world, with the belief that good writing comes from rising to the central challenge not just of writing but of living--the challenge to be, as Henry James said, "one of those upon whom nothing is lost."

Speakers
avatar for Noah Zanella

Noah Zanella

Noah Zanella (he/they) is a Chicago-based writer and musician. His poem "my urge to speak..." received the 2022 Eileen Lannan Academy of American Poets Prize and his chapbook-length poem "Field Recordings" was a finalist for the Newfound Writers Chapbook Contest. They currently work... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT

4:00pm EDT

Prismatics: Re-seeing the Revision Process
An oft-touted part of the revision process is coming to the work with "fresh eyes," but what if your revision process itself is feeling tired, habitual, or rote? What if you're not sure where to look in the first place? In this interactive workshop, applicable to any genre, participants will be introduced to a variety of revision techniques, ranging from strategies for considering structure and big-picture concerns to tips and tricks for fine-tuning sentences. We'll aim to push against our comfort zones and long-established revision habits in order to re-see that revision process from new angles. Most importantly, this workshop will provide time and space to actually complete some revision work within the hour and debrief the process together, and participants will have post-session access to any shared materials in both print and online formats. Participants are encouraged to bring a few pages of work: 2-3 pages of a story, essay, or chapter; 1-2 completed flash fictions, or 2-3 poems. Printed, double-spaced work is ideal, but the workshop will also be accessible to those working with their materials electronically. For those who do not bring work of their own, some sample texts will be provided for experimentation.

Speakers
avatar for Holly Wendt

Holly Wendt

Holly M. Wendt is Associate Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Lebanon Valley College. Holly is a recipient of a Robert and Charlotte Baron Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and fellowships from the Jentel Foundation and Hambidge Center. Their... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
Buhl 024

4:00pm EDT

The Editor's Panel
What do editors hate? What do they love? Should you stress out about your cover letter? Is there really a "good rejection?" This panel features veteran editors answering these and other questions and generally pulling back the curtain to show you what really happens behind the scenes.  

Speakers
avatar for Monica Prince

Monica Prince

Monica Prince is the author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman: A Choreopoem ([PANK], 2020), Instructions for Temporary Survival (Red Mountain Press, 2019), and Letters from the Other Woman (Grey Book Press, 2018), and her next choreopoem, Roadmap, will be published by SFWP in... Read More →
avatar for Mark Drew

Mark Drew

Mark Drew has been with the Gettysburg Review since 1998, serving first as assistant editor and, beginning in 2015, as editor. He earned his AA at Elgin Community College, BA at Knox College, and MFA in creative writing (poetry) at the University of Alabama. While in Tuscaloosa... Read More →
avatar for Geeta Kothari

Geeta Kothari

Geeta Kothari is a senior editor of the Kenyon Review. Her essay "If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?" has been reprinted in several anthologies, including in Best American Essays. She is the editor of  ‘Did My Mama Like to Dance?’ and Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters... Read More →
avatar for Sherrie Flick

Sherrie Flick

Sherrie Flick is the author of the novel Reconsidering Happiness (University of Nebraska Press) and two short story collections, Thank Your Lucky Stars (Autumn House) and Whiskey, Etc. (Autumn House). Recent work appears in Ploughshares, New England Review, and Booth. She's... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
Beckwith Auditorium, lower level Buhl Building

4:00pm EDT

CANCELLED: How to Get an Editor to Read Past the First Page
SORRY EVERYBODY! WENDY CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE CONFERENCE.

First pages are like blind dates -- a good first impression is everything and can be the deciding factor if the relationship goes any further. But don't let that stop you from writing that first page -- honing a great first page is all in the editing. Author and editor Wendy Wimmer will show you what she looks for when selecting work and the kinds of hooks that grab a reader from the first paragraph -- or even the first sentence -- and keep them invested in reading on. She'll give you an easy barometer to "Editor/Agent test" your first page and also reveal some of the opening page moves that novice (and advanced) writers commonly make but are nearly impossible to pull off. She'll share real life examples of first pages from the publishing, classic and literary world, and give time to talk through your own first pages live.



Speakers
avatar for Wendy Wimmer

Wendy Wimmer

Wendy Wimmer writes from Wisconsin, under the strict supervision of two dogs and a cat. She holds a Master of Arts and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, respectively. Her work has been published in Barrelhouse, Waxwing, Paper... Read More →


Saturday October 29, 2022 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
Buhl 028

4:00pm EDT

Poetics of the Non-Western Myth
Western myths--Greek, Roman, Biblical, etc.---are so ubiquitous in literature that a poet may reasonably assume the audience's foreknowledge and thus take liberties in their symbolism without the burden of context. This generative workshop will tackle weaving myths into poetry that may be lesser known to an English-speaking audience: how to widen and flip a narrative until it becomes your own creation, and whether context is necessary or simply an ethnocentric expectation.

Speakers
avatar for Divyasri Krishnan

Divyasri Krishnan

Divyasri Krishnan is the author of PRIMORDIAL KNOWLEDGE (Bottlecap Press). Her poetry is published or forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Muzzle Magazine, Hobart Pulp, and elsewhere. She studies at Carnegie Mellon University, and she reads for the Adroit Journal.


Saturday October 29, 2022 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
Buhl 026

5:00pm EDT

Boxed Wine Happy Hour!
The world famous boxed wine happy hour! 

Saturday October 29, 2022 5:00pm - 6:00pm EDT
Welker Room, James Laughlin Building 5798 West Woodland Drive, Pittsburgh, PA
 
Filter sessions
Apply filters to sessions.