Please stay tuned for a list of sessions for the 2018 Rutgers–New Brunswick Writers' Conference. Listed below are the sessions from the 2017 conference.

Date Track Session/Presenter/Description Location Time

Saturday, June 2, 2018

N/A

Registration/Continental Breakfast

TBD 8:00am to 9:00am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Creating a Fictional World

A novelist must create characters, as well as a plot that moves the story forward, but all of this must exist within a fictional world. How do writers create such a world?  Most writing teachers tell their students to write what they know. My great teacher Albert Guerard, who taught at Harvard for twenty years and then at Stanford for twenty more years, told his students something quite different: Write what you can imagine. This was hugely freeing to his students and to me. A writer did not have to write about his or her own life, which might be small and uninteresting. In fact, the whole world is open to a novelist. Imagination is everything.

TBD 9:00am to 10:00am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

N/A

Agent Pitch Meetings

Have an opportunity to meet for 10 minutes with agents, editors, and publishers. More info coming soon.

TBD 10:10am to 5:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Fiction

Intro to Writing Fiction

Coming soon.

TBD 10:10am to 11:10am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Genre Fiction

Writing Thrillers, Crime Novel

Whodunit? Whydunit? Wheredunit? This workshop will explore the internal machinations of the mystery novel and how to pick up the reader’s pulse. Our focus will be on the fundamentals: outlining, plotting and character development—as well as how to create a suffocating sense of suspense that compels one to keep turning the page, chapter after chapter, until the very end. 

TBD 10:10am to 11:10am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Writing Humor

Coming Soon.

TBD 10:10am to 11:10am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Business of Writing

Perfecting Your Pitch

Coming Soon.

TBD 10:10am to 11:10am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

Basic and Bold—The Uses of Contemporary Poetry–a Poetry Workshop

This Workshop is designed to engage participants with contemporary poets and the different strategies to generate new work.  While the focus is on African American poets, a range of poets will be under review.

The Workshop will be in two parts:

#1.  Participants will look at poems in the packet and discuss the work of those poets with whom they are unfamiliar.

#2.  We will use vocabulary from two or three of the poems to generate new work.

We will use two or three poems as catalyst for new works. Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Gregory Pardlo, Ada Limón, Lorenzo Thomas, Angela Jackson, Marilyn Chin, Maureen Owen, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Renato Rosaldo, Brenda Hillman, Latasha N. Diggs, Peter Covino, Joy Harjo, Major Jackson, and Charif Shanahan may be part of the packet.

 Participants must be prepared to read and write, write and write.

At the end of this workshop, it is my hope that participants will have created poems that they feel good about and have learned about.

TBD 10:10am to 11:10am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing for Performance

Writing for Stage and Screen: Getting Started

Coming Soon.

TBD 10:10am to 11:10am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

N/A

Lunch & Pitchapalooza

WHAT:   Pitchapalooza is American Idol for books (only kinder and gentler). Twenty writers will be selected at random to pitch their book. Each writer gets one minute—and only one minute! Dozens of writers have gone from talented amateurs to professionally published authors as a result of participating in Pitchapalooza, including Genn Albin, our KC winner who got a 3-book mid-6 figure deal with Farrar Straus & Giroux.  

HOW: At Pitchapalooza, judges will help you improve your pitch, not tell you how bad it is. Judges critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace and much, much more. Authors come away with concrete advice as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining for one and all. From Miami to Portland, from LA to NYC, and many stops along the way, Pitchapaloozas have consistently drawn standing-room-only crowds, press and blog coverage, and the kind of bookstore buzz reserved for celebrity authors.

PRIZE: At the end of Pitchapalooza, the judges will pick a winner. The winner receives an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for his/her book.

TBD 11:15am to 1:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

N/A

Lunch & Pitch Slam with Agents, Editors & Publishers

Pitch your story during 3-minute meetings with agents and editors. 

TBD 11:45am to 1:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Business of Writing

Creating an Author's Webpage

Coming Soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

We are the Future: A Poetry Workshop Using Walt Whitman’s “Democratic Vistas”

In “Democratic Vistas” Whitman presents his ideas on Democracy, Culture and the “vistas” he proposes for a nation that has just concluded  the “Secession War” as he calls it.  The essay was published in 1870 just as Andrew Johnson was being removed from office; Reconstruction was taking place; and immigration was expanding.  In the paper, Whitman does what he always does, use words in illuminating or obscuring ways.  He often uses antique locutions, “Ye” for instance.  But the words offer poets stepping stones to new poems. 

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing for Performance

Writing a Two-Character Play in 90 Minutes

Coming Soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Fiction

Creating a Book of Linked Short Stories

Linked short stories fall somewhere between a book of stories and a novel, while retaining some of the best qualities of both. They can move in time and in place and from character to character more freely than a novel, and can provide a richer, more complicated canvas than a book of short stories.

In our workshop we will create the outlines for two books of linked short stories, one character based and one place based. By the end of the class, students will have a better sense of what they can do to plot out a book of linked short stories, or how they can proceed forward from a story they have already written.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Genre Fiction

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Coming Soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Getting a Great Interview

Coming Soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Fiction

Topic for Advanced Writers (TBA)

What is a character driven story? How do you create a character powerful enough to drive a plot? This one hour craft talk and discussion goes beyond the lists of facts to offer a method for creating a dynamic character.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Genre Fiction

Writing Romance Novels

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Writing for Broadcast

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Business of Writing

Getting Published: The Big Five, Independent, or Self-Publishing

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

Making Poetry Out of Everyday Life (Introductory Level)

As poets we often delude ourselves into thinking that we must reach for the big theme. Yet the best poets often find their themes in the objects that surround them daily. This workshop will focus on finding the poetic essence of daily life. We will read a couple of poems by master poets and work on a couple of exercises.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing for Performance

Adapting Your Work for Stage/Screen

We have brought our stories to the page. Now… how do we bring it to the stage? The big screen? Our workshop will explore how fiction makes the leap to film/television and find ways to adapt our own material for new mediums. By taking an in-depth look at previously adapted pieces and comparing the source material with their evolutionary counterparts, we will discuss what makes its way onto film and what should remain on the page—and how.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Fiction

Mark Twain on Writing

Coming Soon.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing for Performance

Getting Produced (Advanced Level)

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Genre Fiction

Creating Conflict

Coming Soon.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Writing the Personal Essay

Coming Soon.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Business of Writing

Using Social Media to Market Your Work

Coming Soon.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

Poetry (Advanced Level)

Coming Soon.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Reading and Signing Event

TBD 5:10pm to 7:30pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

N/A

Registration/Continental Breakfast

TBD 8:00am to 9:00am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

N/A

The Artist as Activist

Artists today are grappling with their place in the current social and political landscape: when is art activism and when is it escapism?  The fact is, as artists, we can take the risks that politicians won’t. Moreover, art can often reach people in ways that politics can't.  As E. M. Forster once said, “Fiction is truer than history because it goes beyond the evidence.”  That’s true of a lot of art, because a lot of art is about something that a lot of politics is not: empathy.  In this keynote, Bohjalian will discuss how he has used fiction to address issues as diverse as genocide, domestic violence, and teen homelessness.

TBD 9:00am to 10:00am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Fiction

Elements of Plot (Advanced Level)

You have your first or two down and you know what story you want to tell, but your plot isn’t working yet. The session offers an explanation and examples of necessary plot points that will make your story click into place. Craft talk and exercises.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Genre Fiction

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Coming Soon.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Writing Commentary, Critiques & Blogs

Coming Soon.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Business of Writing

Branding Yourself

Coming Soon.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Poetry

Shaping the Surface to Find Depth

Poems demand clarity; poems also reach for depth. How can we shape the surface of the poem, where clarity lies, so that readers can see to the bottom, where truth is dormant? We will read poems by Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams that illuminate surface and depth and try some exercises inspired by them.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing for Performance

The Art and Craft of Oral Storytelling

In this workshop, we'll explore the power and potential uses--both for creative writing and day-to-day communication--of storytelling. Through a series of exercises, attendees will learn techniques and tools to develop and deliver a true story from their lives. 

We'll touch on how to locate promising stories, how to structure them, and how to deliver them (without memorization) with confidence. Attendees will leave the workshop with the tools and know-how to continue to refine their stories. 

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

N/A

Agent Pitch Meetings

Have an opportunity to meet for 10 minutes with agents, editors, and publishers. More info coming soon.

TBD 10:10am to 4:00pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

N/A

Publishing Panel Presentation

Coming Soon.

TBD 11:45am to 1:00pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing for Performance

Writing for Television

Coming Soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Genre Fiction

Writing for Children

Coming Soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Fiction

Hooking Your Readers from the First Page -- and Why It Matters

Chris Bohjalian says that his fiction has changed enormously in the digital age -- and it has changed for a variety of reasons.  But the big one?  The spectacular renaissance in TV and Film.  The Sopranos.  Breaking Bad.  Fargo.  Sociologists and anthropologists have chronicled the way our attention spans have changed, but so have our expectations of narrative: Bohjalian believes that even literary fiction must begin with a bang (at least a metaphoric one).  And so in this workshop, he will explore with the writers how to begin a novel or a short story -- and how to hook your readers from the first page.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Getting Personal: Navigating the Opportunities and Challenges of the Personal Essay

In this workshop, we'll delve into the personal essay form, examining what makes a strong and marketable piece. Drawing on one's own personal experience for writing material offers up unique opportunities as well as a number of pitfalls. Here, we'll look at writers who have used the "I" in a variety of ways to deepen their work and connect with readers. We'll also uncover some of the common pitfalls of the genre, and touch on the basics of the personal essay market as well as what to know before you publish.

Attendees will be expected to read two essays (to be emailed beforehand) in preparation for the class. Attendees should also come prepared with a short (2-3 pages) personal essay (or start to an essay) that we will discuss during the session.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:10pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Business of Writing

Writer's Block and Other Occupational Hazards

Coming Soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Poetry

A Circle of Associates: Writing Outward

This early-afternoon workshop, appropriate for both beginning and advanced poets, will focus on generating new work by participants. After examining various poems as models (by authors including Yehuda Amichai, Thomas Lux, Lucille Clifton, and Li-Young Lee), participants will be guided to compose poems that begin with a specific object and move outwards in the composition, ideally leading to kinds of truths they didn’t know they knew. We will keep in mind Richard Hugo’s advice to poets to go from the “triggering subject” to the generated or discovered subject. At the end of the session, we will respond to as many of the resultant poems as time allows.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Business of Writing

What Does an Agent Do & How do You Know If You Need One?

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Poetry

A Fresh Break for Your Writing: Viewing a Poem's Line Breaks as Possibilities, Not Endings

Examining poems written in the last 50 years, we will explore how line break choices can augment a poem’s tone and implications by emphasizing images, sounds, and silences. Each participant should bring an original poem (no longer than twenty lines) he/she has had trouble revising or seeing clearly—a poem that one feels has latent power that hasn’t yet been brought to the surface. Towards the end of the session, participants will have an opportunity to recast their “stuck” poems into works that have more energy via more invigorated line breaks.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing for Performance

Writing for Television (Advanced Level)

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing for Performance

Performing Your Own Work

Coming Soon,

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing for Performance

Performing Your Own Work

Coming Soon,

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Fiction

World-Building

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Genre Fiction

Writing for Young Adults

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 4:20pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Writing Memoir

Coming Soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

N/A

Open Mic Event

Coming Soon.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm