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    MFAC Alumni Weekend Writers' Conference:
    January 8 - 10, 2016

    January 2016 Alumni Weekend Highlights Include:

    • The Alumni Master Class taught will be by Mary Logue on using suspense in your writing.  

    • Our visiting editor will be Julie Bliven, Associate Editor at Charlesbridge Publishing. Julie worked with MFAC alum Diane Mullen (2009) on her recently published book, Tagged. Julie, Diane and Kelly Easton will present a panel about the life of a book from idea to publication.

    • "Inspiration to Publication: The Creation of a Picture Book" : Local author Cheryl Blackford will be joined by editor Shannon Pennefeather (Minnesota Historical Society Press) to discuss their process behind Cheryl’s non-fiction picture book, Hungry Coyote. 

    • "Forget the Elevator Pitch: How to Make a Lasting Mark from a First Impression" : Megan Atwood, MFAC alum and senior editor at Capstone will help you craft the perfect pitch for your work. Our visiting editor will also lead a morning Pitch Session and critique the pitches you created in Megan’s session. 

    • Alum Elizabeth Verdick (2013) will lead a workshop for those who want to polish their picture book. “Perfect words in perfect places”: That’s what we expect from picture books. How do you go from a good story to THAT? The answer is revision. Alums and current students can look at the revision process from title to last line, using a handy checklist. Bring a picture book of 500 words or less to make a dummy. Together, we’ll talk revision, rejection, and surviving both.  

    • Alum Nina Bricko (2015): Discover what makes your character memorable! Create character maps that explore backstory, and manipulate visual diagrams that represent the push-and-pull against a character’s dramatic need and their overarching want. We will embody our character in a Q&A session to inspire spontaneous character development.

    • Alum Kiel Phegley (2013) will present “Making Comics & Selling Them Too.” Alum and comics-industry veteran Kiel will share tips for scripting comic books and graphic novels, as well as finding artistic collaborators, navigating production tasks like lettering and coloring, self-publishing from print to digital, and pitching publishers. 

    • Our Writer’s Life Session will focus on dealing with the inner and outer critic. MFAC faculty Emily Jenkins and Matt de la Peña will talk about how they deal with their inner voice when it becomes a critic, as well as how they deal with outside criticism via social media and in the professional world.

    Alumni Weekend Pricing & Registration

    If you register by December 15, the cost for January 2016 Alumni Weekend Writer's Conference is $225After December 15, the cost is $250. Registration includes the welcome lunch and opening reception on Friday evening. (Note: Lecture Pass registration/pricing will be available separately. Check the Lecture Pass page for more information.) 

    Register Now!


    January Hotel

    The Days Hotel-University Ave SE will be serving as our new host hotel for the January Residency. Located in Minneapolis at 2407 University Avenue, the hotel is about 3 miles from the campus and steps away from the Stadium Village Green Line light rail station (5 stops to the Snelling Avenue station).  Free shuttles provided. We have a block of rooms reserved (both doubles and singles) at a group rate of $79 + tax/per night. Parking, wireless internet, and breakfast with hot and healthy options are included in the rate.  Click here for more info about the hotel.

    If you decide that you’d like to take advantage of our special rate, you need to make your reservations by December 7. Call the front desk at 1-612-623-3999 and let them know that you are coming in for the Hamline Creative Writing Program. Their staff will know to put you into the group block with the $79 rate. After December 7, the hotel will continue to accept reservations on a space and rate availability basis only.  

    Tentative Alumni Weekend Schedule

    Pre-Weekend Sessions with Megan Atwood (Whole Novel Workshop) and Molly Beth Griffin (Picture Book Intensive).

    11:30          Check-in and welcome lunch
    1:00           School Visit/Picture Book Reading (with Peter Pearson and JJ Austrian)
    2:30           Cheryl Blackford and Shannon Pennefeather Presentation
    4:45           Megan Atwood Presentation                                                   
    5:15            Opening Reception & Faculty Reading

    9:30          Nina Bricko Workshop
    11:30         Lunch                                                 
    1:00          Editor/Author Talk with Diane Mullen, Julie Bliven, Kelly Eason                           
    3:30          Bookfair and Panel Discussion: How Can Newbie Authors Make the Most of Their Relationships with Librarians and Booksellers? (Patrick Jones, Joan Trygg, Kari Pearson)
    4:30          Kiel Phegley Presentation
    5:30          Dinner and Outing/Reading                          


    9:30          Editor Pitch Session
    11:15          Lunch       
    12:30         Elizabeth Verdick Session
    2:30          Master Class with Mary Logue
    4:15           The Writer's Life Session
    5:30          Farewell Pizza Dinner and Faculty Readings