The 2019 Ridgefield Writers Conference will present a stimulating evening of readings, discussions, networking and breakout forums on the theme of storytelling, with a keynote address by teacher, writer and award-winning poet Charles Rafferty. The event takes place Fri., Sept. 20, at the Ridgefield Library from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Now in its seventh year, the Ridgefield Writers Conference will explore the enduring art and craft of storytelling and its essential role in works of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Stories are nearly infinite in number and individual in nature so how do poets and writers create their works with insight, originality and mastery? To consider the topic, the conference begins with keynote Charles Rafferty, whose poetry collections include The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017) and Something an Atheist Might Bring Up at a Cocktail Party (Maypole Press, 2018). Rafferty's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, O the Oprah Magazine, Prairie Schooner and Ploughshares. His stories have been featured in The Southern Review and New World Writing, and his story collection is Saturday Night at Magellan’s (Fomite Press, 2013).
Rafferty is also the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and of the 2016 Nano Fiction Prize. Rafferty also directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College and teaches at Westport Writers’ Workshop.
Following the keynote, a Q&A panel features Rafferty as panelist, along with editor and publisher Jim Childs, formerly with Globe Pequot Press, Time, Inc., Books, The Taunton Press and Prentice-Hall, and Gina Maccoby of Gina Maccoby Literary Agency.
Following the panels are breakout sessions on fiction, nonfiction and publishing. For fiction writers and poets, Rafferty will lead a forum on strategies in storytelling from a practitioner’s perspective, drawing on examples from short stories, flash fiction and poetry. Nonfiction writers will hear Childs provide an editor’s take on the importance of knowing your topic and audience. Maccoby will speak to writers of all genres about the challenges of creating compelling narratives, from an agent’s standpoint.
To make the most of the event, writers should bring their writing projects, plans and questions. This year’s event also includes a networking wine and cheese reception, and editors from Norwalk-based Woodhall Press will be on hand to answer publishing questions. The Ridgefield Writers Conference is also pleased to announce that fiction instructor and poet Jessica McEntee has joined conference co-founders Rebecca Dimyan and Adele Annesi as an event coordinator.