I returned a few days ago from the New England Young Writers Conference at the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College, in Vermont. It was a wonderful experience, just as it was last year. Approximately 200 high school students and home school students were in attendance, with something like 20 professional writers there as workshop leaders. Among them, I was the one SF guy (though the conference director has written fantasy); there was also a mystery writer, several YA authors, a slew of poets, and some nonfiction people. The kids were amazing. I once more was blown away by the quality and originality and daring of their work. When I was in high school, I was nowhere near their level. Plus, they were a pleasure to work with, and genuinely supportive of each other.
The writers were a great bunch to hang out with, as well. During one of the readings, I was sitting there surrounded by new friends, and thinking what a blessing it was to spend time with such interesting people. Some were folks I’d met last year, and some were new friends. I like getting together with SF people, but this was different; it was warmer somehow, maybe a little less competitive, because there was so much cross-fertilization and we all have our areas of specialty. Several of us were wishing we could all have stayed on another week, just writing and hanging out during meals and after hours.
Why not check out the web sites of some of the folks I spent time with:
- YA authors Rita Murphy and Doug Wilhelm
- Mystery writer Sarah Stewart Taylor
- Poets David Wright, Angela Patten and Daniel Lusk, and Geoff Hewitt
- Fiction/nonfiction author Matthew Dickerson
Better yet, try their books:
A room without books is like a body without a soul. —Cicero