WriteAngles: A Straw Dog Writers Guild Conference, is scheduled for Saturday April 6, 2024. This is the revival of a conference that served Western Massachusetts writers for over 30 years until it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
First held in 1987, WriteAngles was sponsored by the local chapter of the National Writers Union until 2007, when it became an independent project run by volunteers. The one-day conference, by writers, for writers, was featured in Writer’s Digest “Conference Scene” as a “budget-friendly event.” Despite low registration fees, it was able to distribute grants to western Massachusetts organizations that promote writing and reading. Keynote speakers over the years included Elinor Lipman, Marilynne Robinson, Jonathan Harr, Barry Werth, Madeleine Blais, Suzanne Strempek Shea, Dennis Lehane, Augusten Burroughs, Martín Espada, Breena Clarke, Patricia Smith, Magdelena Gómez, Andre Dubus III, Julia Glass, Richard Russo, Roland Merullo, Jane Yolen, Maria Luísa Arroyo, Ann Hood, Pat Schneider, David Anthony Durham, Susan Stinson, and Grace Paley.
In 2022 the WriteAngles, Inc Board decided to disband and transfer the conference to Straw Dog Writers Guild. A group of volunteers from Straw Dog Writers Guild, the “old” WriteAngles conference, and over a dozen regional literary organizations has been meeting since July 2022 to brainstorm ideas and plan a writers’ gathering that is both old and new.
Some elements of the old conference will be carried over:
- The small size (100-150 participants).
- A combination of participatory workshops, panel discussions, and facilitated conversations.
- A strong emphasis on celebrating writers and writing organizations in the four counties of western Massachusetts.
- Opportunities for networking.
- Agent meetings and a literary fair.
Some elements of the 2024 conference will be new:
- The Daisy Matthias Scholarship will be awarded annually to a graduating high school senior pursuing creative writing.
- The Abel Meeropol Social Justice Writing Award will be presented to the keynote speaker.
- Sponsorship, grants, and partnerships with local arts and businesses will help keep the conference affordable and pay presenters for their work.
Hoping to create a conference that meets the needs of writers, the planning committee held conversations with writers in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties, in partnership with literary organizations in each county. The results of those gatherings will help design the conference program.
For updates on the conference, please check back here and subscribe to the Straw Dog Writers Guild newsletter.
This conference is supported in part by: