The Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) annual conference took place July 25-28, 2013, and I was a second-time attendee. The conference occurs the last weekend of July, in Seattle (a great city to visit anytime, but especially in late July). I have twice travelled to this conference from Sacramento, California, and getting out of Central Valley summer heat is a minor reason.
The PNWA Conference is simply one of the best writer’s conferences on the West Coast, topping even San Francisco in terms of events and speakers. For example, I was able to attend workshops ranging from building conflict and drama in my fiction to using social media to promote it. Another good reason to attend is that top literary agents come to the PNWA conference each year, and if you submit your application early enough, you can sign up to pitch your novel to a “block” of approximately ten agents among whom to choose to give your pitch. I was able to pitch to four agents, and each one asked me to submit samples of my novel. In addition, there are opportunities to learn about independent and self-publishing, growing alternate trends to traditional publishing.
Writers are also wonderful people to network among at conferences, more relaxed and open than those at many professional conferences, perhaps because writing is such a solitary profession.
Finally, PNWA holds a writing contest each year, deadline in late February for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Your writing, even if it doesn’t win, will receive a review and rating from two readers, reason enough to enter. Finalists and winners are honored at the conference and their work read by agents.
Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association is a great organization with a fantastic conference. Visit www.pnwa.org to learn more.
Stacia Levy teaches academic writing and reading skills at the University of the Pacific. She also has taught creative writing at the University of the Pacific and the University of California, Davis. Publishing credits include several short stories and a novel, California Gothic, a story of romantic suspense set in a winery in Napa. She lives in Sacramento, California with her husband Mark and daughter Shoshana. In her free time she enjoys writing, dining out, and karate.