The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Attend Writers’ Day

Where: Southern New Hampshire University, 2500 N. River Road, Hooksett
When: Saturday, March 28, from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $230, $125 for graduate/undergraduate students
Visit: for more details/workshop descriptions

Jazzed up to write
26th annual Writers’ Day approaches

By Kelly Sennott

One reason to attend Writers’ Day, said Rob Greene, is to make sure not all your friends are imaginary.

“Writing can be a very lonely game,” said Greene, president of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project board of trustees. “[Writers’ Day] is a networking/socializing kind of event. … This is a way to make sure you’re not just living with your characters. Once a year, people get together to talk about writing, pitch their work to agents, talk to publishers, that sort of thing. Participants come away from the event feeling very jazzed.”
NHWP presents its 26th annual Writers’ Day, the biggest day of the year for the nonprofit, on Saturday, March 28, from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., at Southern New Hampshire University. Every year, between 200 and 250 people show up to hear the keynote speaker (this year’s is Anita Diamant, author of 12 books, including The Red Tent) and attend workshops about the writing and publishing industry today. 
Workshops cover all genres, from poetry and radio to murder mystery fiction and travel writing, plus things like building your online platform. They instruct writers how to get past “no,” how to re-draft and how to make dialogue work. For example, here’s a taste of the morning lineup: “Short and Successful Ways to Get Away with Murder” with mystery writer Brendan DuBois; “Bringing Flat Characters to Life” with Lisa Borders; “Bringing the Adventure Home: The Art of Writing Memorable Travel Nonfiction” by writer Dan Szczesny (a Hippo associate publisher); and “Wise to Revise: Someone Read My Draft! Now What Do I Do?” with Becky and Adi Rule.
Between workshops, publishers will be on hand for pitch sessions and manuscript critiques (which cost extra and fill up fast, so writers should make appointments before the conference). The day is fun and helpful for writers of all levels, Greene said.
“You should be able to appreciate the classes whether you’re a beginning writer or not. ... And we want to make it so it’s not the same thing over and over again,” Greene said. “We want to make sure that any time you come to Writers’ Day, there’s something new.”
Chloe Viner Collins has been traveling with her husband from Randolph, Vermont, to NHWP’s Writers’ Day every year the past five years. At past events, they’ve met many well-known area writers, including her husband’s now former professor, James Patrick Kelly (in fact, he convinced her husband to apply to Stonecoast’s Low Residency MFA program). There’s nothing comparable in Vermont.
“This is a close-knit group of people,” Collins said. “It’s a way to get in on the writing scene and talk with the writers in the area you may have heard of.”
They listen to the keynote speaker before going off in different directions — he to fiction workshops, she to poetry — and then meet up and compare notes at the end of the day. 
For a lot of attendees, Writers’ Day is also a means to get pumped up, Greene said. For returning writers, it’s like coming back to summer camp. They share a bond and keep in touch to swap stories and writing tips.
Helen DePrima of Bedford has been attending Writers’ Day almost every year the past 15 years. That first year, she met numerous writers who would affect her career. She kept in touch with her first workshop teacher, Tom Eslick, until he died in 2011, and she still emails a NHWP friend from the North Country, who will also attend this year’s Writers’ Day.
“It’s like an energizing pep rally. … The association itself is a wonderful resource for writers,” DePrima said. “The people who run it are so dedicated and so encouraging. You never feel condescended to. … Writing is a lonesome business, and it would be easy to get discouraged if you didn’t have that encouragement.”
The offerings, she said, have changed since 2000; more and more workshops are about increasing your online presence and marketing  your work. She said she was a “wishful” writer for decades, then became a hopeful writer, and now, finally considers herself a “working writer.” With NHWP’s help, she just landed a publisher for her debut novel, tentatively called Cameron’s Pride. She found last year’s keynote speaker particularly inspiring.
“Last year, B.A. Shapiro talked about how many years it took her to become published. Her agent loved the book, but nobody wanted it. It took her 10 years before she finally struck gold with The Art Forger,” DePrima said. 
The last event of the day is the inaugural Literary Hall of Fame ceremony for the new inductees — Robert Frost, John Irving, Donald Hall and Grace Metalious — at the newly built SNHU Learning Library. 
As seen in the March 19, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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