I met with Chris Powell of Hollins University, who's working with me on the 2011 Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, yesterday and it looks like we're in good shape to make this a top-notch gathering again. Chris is the brains of the outfit; I'm the decoration. She and Linda Martin, who does the Web site, are simply splendid to work with, efficient, cheerful and dang good people.
The conference is Friday evening and Saturday all day, January 28-29 at Hollins University in Roanoke. Profits from the conference go as a scholarship to a Horizon Program student who is studying writing.
We have made a few changes that will make the flow better and might even make those attending feel like they're getting even more for their $55 than they bargained for. Here's part of a letter I sent to those who attended last year's conference, complete with links to the Web site and to the online registration form. I'm hoping those of you who are attending will register online because it makes the bookkeeping a lot easier. You can, of course, show up on the day of the conference and pay by check or cash, but that could mean you won't get to eat. In any case, here are the details:
For your convenience, we have added lunch this year in the Hollins dining hall on Saturday and simply added $5 to the cost of the conference (the lunch costs us about $7 a head). The total cost remains a reasonable $55. For your $5, you will get a variety of choices in the cafeteria setting and will not be fumbling through boxes to find the right sandwich. The food will be hot, healthy and plentiful.
For Friday's reception, we will have free soft drinks, snacks and water with a cash bar for wine. Coffee will be available from before the start of Saturday's sessions at 9 a.m. until early afternoon and it will be free. I'll try to arrange to have a few nibbles for the breakfast crowd, but be warned: it will be healthy (no doughnuts).
The Web site for the conference is part of the Hollins "Events" menu here www. hollins.edu, but this will get you straight to the heart of what you want here.
At the bottom of the main page, you'll find registration, presenters and a schedule. You may register online. You may also register at the conference and pay by cash or check there (no credit cards the day of the event), but we'd much prefer that you register online if possible. You will not need to select your classes until you are at the conference (it is good to attend the reception because each of the teachers is introduced and you'll have an opportunity for a spot evalation).
Cara Modisett, the former editor of Blue Ridge Country magazine, is the keynote speaker Friday and Keith Ferrell will open the conference with a brief address, as well. We have classes all over the board and even have a section on law and finding a literary agent (two agents will tell you). Read the class schedule on the Web site, as well as the short biographies of the teachers/writers.
Those of you needing hotel rooms in the area of Hollins University, site of the conference, will note that the Hotel Roanoke & Conference is the official hotel of the conference. Here is the Web site, on which you may make reservations (here). You can also go here and type in a ZIP code of 24012 to get a rundown on the hotels in the immediate area (about 30) with a wide range of prices and quality.