Viet Thanh Nguyen. Esmé Weijun Wang. Steve Almond. Celeste Ng. Daniel José Older.
These are just a few of the famous literary names you’ll see at this year’s The Muse & the Marketplace, a three-day event we named the best writing conference in the country in 2017.
The event is hosted by GrubStreet, an acclaimed Boston-based creative writing center, and hosted at the Boston Park Plaza near Boston Common. More than 800 participants, presenters, and volunteers are expected to attend this year’s event from April 3 to April 5.
Although the itinerary is packed with expert-led panels and classes (The “Muse” side of the event), the conference doesn’t skimp on its “Marketplace” offerings. Attendees can register for the Manuscript Mart, where authors book 20-minute one-on-one sessions with an agent or editor to hear professional feedback on both a 20-page manuscript and a query letter. The Aevitas Shop Talk Happy Hour gathers attendees, agents, presenters, and editors for a networking session at Maggiano’s restaurant, while the Writers, Agents, and Editors of Color Meet-Up offers an informal space for authors and industry professionals who identify as people of color to mingle.
When planning their session schedules, attendees can choose from various suggested “tracks” to easily find the sessions that interest them most. These tracks include genre-based selections such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and YA as well as tracks titled “Publishing & Promotion,” “The Writer’s Life,” “Perspective + Art,” and “Essentials,” the latter of which is targeted for beginners and other writers who want more basic instruction on a variety of topics from fiction to graphic memoirs to social media.
Other Muse offerings include Literary Idol, where an actor performs a selection from an anonymously submitted manuscript for a panel of editor and agent “judges,” and an evening spitballing session, where authors use brainstorming techniques borrowed from screenwriters to “unstick” stuck story ideas.
Nguyen, bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is the keynote speaker for the 2020 conference. Other presenters include Brandon Taylor (Real Life), Whitney Scharer (The Age of Light), Hank Phillippi Ryan (The Murder List), and Rion Scott (The World Doesn’t Require You), among many others.
Registration for all three days is currently sold out, but Friday Only and Saturday Only tickets are still available for purchase. For more information, visit museandthemarketplace.com.