Sunday, January 30, 2011

Scenes from Roanoke Regional Writers Conference

Conference scholarship winner Elizabeth Markham (left center) surrounded by (from left) Hollins President Nancy Gray, previous winner Elizabeth Jones and Dan Smith.

Elizabeth Markham gave a touching acceptance speech. Keynote speakers Cara Modisett and Keith Ferrell are to the left of her.

Conference scholarship winners Elizabeth Jones, Elizabeth Markham and April Drummond, who taught a class at this year's conference.

Cookbook author Mollie Cox Bryan tells how it's done.

Photographer Stephanie Klein-Davis with her class on photo technique.

Jill Elswick (foreground) asks a question of a panel moderated by FRONT publisher Tom Field (standing) and (from left) Bill Kovarik of Radford University, author Keith Ferrell, weekly newspaper editor Meg Hibbert, Dan Smith, Lizetta Staplefoote of Rackspace in Blacksburg and Darrell Laurant of the News & Advance in Lynchburg.

Founder Dan Smith with Chris Powell of Hollins, the conference's MVP, and Mitzi Hartwell, who helped in a number of ways with her boundless energy.
Roanoke College's Mary Hill teaches her poetry class.

Lizetta Staplefoote of Rackspace teaches her writing class.

Tom Field in front of his full house of a class.

Hollins' Jeanne Larsen was--hands down--the conference's most popular teacher.

Radio essayist Janis Jaquith kept her class laughing.

W&L journalism professor Doug Cumming with his class.

One of the most useful classes is always Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore attorney Dave Cohan's on protecting yourself as a writer.

Dan Smith (baseball cap) and Kurt Rheinheimer (right) taught a class as two old white men who've written for a long time.

Local daily metro columnist Dan Casey told stories for most of his class and the students loved it.

Roanoke College's Cynthia Atkins with her class gives a writing exercise.

Keynote speaker Cara Modisett.

Literary agents Joan Timberlake (with her Come to Jesus gesture) and George Oliver in a heavily-attended double session.

The Roanoke Regional Writers Conference continued on its record pace this year, selling out two days early and actually overbooking before the sellout was noticed.

The popular conference at Hollins presented its $1,500 scholarship to Elizabeth Markham, a Horizon student in a writing discipline and Elizabeth was joined at the conference by previous winners Elizabeth Jones (who made the presentation) and April Drummond, who taught a class. April is finishing her first movie and has had several of her plays produced and she hasn't yet graduated. She was the first scholarship winner. She is the single mother of seven children and is in her early 40s.

The conference featured a wide range of topics of interest to amateur and professional writers.

(Photos by Erin Pope, Mitzi Hartwell, Dan Smith.)


  1. Jeanne Larsen's class was so much fun and engaging when I went, and Janis brought so much energy to her speech that I was just absolutely captivated. How much I wish I could have gone to this years Writer's Conference - it would have been a big pleasure to attend your class! ^_^

  2. StarNiteLights: Next year's right around the corner.

  3. A great event every year, for the content and the company . . . I know several people who want to attend next year. I would advise them to get their tickets early. :-)

  4. Thanks, Dan. It was a great conference. Really enjoyed all the presentations.