Conference Insider: Cape Cod Writers Center Conference
Published: June 20, 2012
DATE: Aug. 5-10, 2012
PLACE: Hyannis, Mass.
Nancy Stuart Rubin, executive director of the Cape Cod Writers Center, shares information about the upcoming 50th anniversary conference.
Tell us about the history of the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference.
A half-century ago, a group of a dozen Cape Cod writers known as the Twelve O’ Clock Scholars, headed by author Marion Vuilleumier, invited prominent authors to speak about writing while visiting during the summer. Among the earliest presenters at the Cape Cod Writers Conference were Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Art Buchwald and Jacques Barzun.
Over the decades, the Cape Cod Writers Center has continued to evolve into a vibrant, nationally recognized literary organization with monthly meetings, writing workshops, scholarships, a popular summer conference and two youth programs. Among more recent presenters have been Marge Piercy, Mary Higgins Clark, Dennis Lehane, Nathaniel Philbrick, Eleanor Clift, Ted Kooser, Bill Martin, Lisa Genova, Malachy McCourt and Colum McCann.
What are the most popular events at the conference?
That’s difficult to say, since all of our courses are quite popular. Among our 32 courses this year are ones on dialogue, memoir, a digital primer, flashback, starting a novel, registering your e-book, and so much more.
Attendees may register for mentoring sessions with agents and/or author/teachers of their choice for manuscript evaluations. Another popular program is our lunchtime “pitch practices” during which registrants pitch their work in five minutes or less to others.
Boston’s poet laureate, Sam Cornish, will teach a five-day interactive workshop. We are also offering a free “Pitchapalooza” class to the entire membership with nationally acclaimed book doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry.
Who are this year’s keynote speakers?
Andre Dubus III
They are Joseph Finder,
the bestselling author of 10 novels; Amy Caldwell, executive editor at
Beacon Press; and Andre Dubus III, the bestselling author of House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days and Townie.
How many attendees do you expect, and where do they come from?
anticipate 175 to 210 attendees. Our participants are mostly from the
Northeast, but we also attract writers from other parts of the country.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
the fact that the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, one of the oldest
broad-based writers centers in the nation, is still vibrant after 50
years, when so many others have disappeared. I’m also looking forward to
the continued growth we are seeing at the center in our membership and
programs at a time when the publishing industry is in such turmoil.
conference classes, which combine traditional courses in fiction,
nonfiction and poetry with those on the latest trends in
publishing—e-books, digital promotion and e-publishing—are another
reason I’m looking forward to the conference.
Is there anything else you want to tell our readers about the conference?
cannot help boasting about the ambiance of our conference, which is
known for being friendly and non-elitist, and whose faculty is
remarkably supportive of aspiring writers.
Of course, the
location of the conference on Cape Cod—with its spacious beaches,
pristine vistas and quaint villages—is unbeatable. This year our new
conference location, the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, has
Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, two pools and three restaurants, is in walking
distance to downtown Hyannis, and offers free shuttles to the beaches
and island ferries—amenities which contemporary conference attendees