Writing conference unites professionals and students

Auburn will host its first writing conference Oct. 8 and 9.

The theme of the event is "The Child on the Page," and will center around literature for and about children.

The conference, which creators hope will become an annual event for the University, will have a different theme each year.

This year's theme was pioneered by Chantel Acevedo, professor in Auburn's English department.

Acevedo, a former middle school teacher, thought a conference centered around young adult literature was needed because few exist.

"Those of us who love to read and write discovered the page as kids. We think that's something worth celebrating. We're launching this conference with a theme that echoes most of our personal journeys with the written word," according to her blog.

The conference includes workshops and lectures by writers from across the nation.

Professionals in poetry, illustration, young adult literature and even a writing agent from New York City, who specializes in query letters and manuscript submissions, will be speaking.

Students can expect to be involved in small-group workshops, panel discussions and readings.

Three Auburn University professors will be leading workshops.

Keynote speaker Julianna Baggott is a critically acclaimed author of 16 novels and is co-author of "Which Brings Me To You," which may be made into a movie this year.

Jill Sutton, senior in English language arts education, said the writing conference is causing excitement around campus.

"I've heard a couple of people in my classes mention that they wanted to go," she said. "I think it could be really interesting and fun. I'm definitely thinking about signing up to attend."

Maiben Beard, one of the conference's creators, said she is confident the writing conference will bring together writers from across the state.

She also said many writers would be interested in the workshops and lectures--not just those interested in children's literature.

"We hope that students will take advantage of having such world-class authors here in Auburn," Beard said. "The skills they will come away with will not only help them in their creative writing, but in the classroom as well."

The event provides an opportunity for creative souls and art enthusiasts to improve their writing as well as meet and interact with professionals.

Students of any major are encouraged to participate, regardless of skill level.

The workshops are first-come, first-serve. Each participant chooses two workshops a day to attend, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The price for nonstudents is $150 for both days, $110 for just Friday (includes a lunch and dinner) and $55 for just Saturday.

Auburn students can reserve their spots for a discounted price: $25 Friday and/or Saturday.

This cost includes a dinner at Ariccia at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center.

Visit the College of Liberal Arts page at www.auburnwritersconference.org to reserve your spot online or receive directions on mailing in your registration form.

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