The West Virginia Writers Inc. Summer Conference Returns for 2021
West Virginia Writers Inc. is our beautiful state’s largest all-volunteer writers’ resource and service organization serving literary interests in West Virginia. The group, established in 1977, has a long standing tradition of offering its members support in their ongoing writing endeavors whether they are just starting out on their literary journey, have multiple publications under their achievement belt, or are at any level in between.
The annual Summer Conference has been taking place nearly as long as the organization has been around. There, writers from across the state and throughout the country meet at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, WV the second weekend in June to find inspiration. This yearly three-day event is filled with workshops on the craft of writing. It has something for everyone whether they are poets, fiction writers, or honing their skills in the non-fiction market. There are also sessions devoted to publishing and marketing to help members achieve the goal of getting their work out into the world.
Workshop presenters have included award winning authors, poets laureate, agents, and representatives from publishers. Best of all, every presenter is available throughout their time at the conference to interact and socialize with attendees. West Virginia Writers Inc.’s Summer Conference provides a “summer camp for big people” atmosphere that really encourages everyone attending to enjoy the event as equals in their love of writing. That feeling, in turn, gives everyone a chance to be an inspiration even as they find inspiration in others.
Along with exceptionally informative workshops, the Summer Conference has evening entertainment. This year will see Open Mic Night on Friday evening and a performance by Pete Kosky on Saturday. After a day packed with learning, these nightly gatherings give everyone a chance to sit back and enjoy a great live event together.
Saturday also includes an annual banquet. Attendees will enjoy an uplifting speech from this year’s keynote speaker, Michael Knost, during their meal. As the evening progresses, 2021’s contest winners will be honored as each name is read along with the title of their piece and the category of the entry. The West Virginia Writers Inc. Annual Writing Contest is open from January 1st through March 14th with an extended late entry deadline of March 31st for an additional fee. There are multiple categories in the adult contest along with a free New Mountain Voices contest for West Virginia students in grades K-12. Winners who are in attendance will receive a personalized certificate, ribbon, and prize money (for those placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd) in each category. Winners unable to attend are notified shortly after and receive their awards by mail. Over $122,000.00 in prize money has been awarded since 1982.
Also at the banquet, West Virginia Writers Inc. will honor a very special recipient with their highest award. The J.U.G. Award, which stands for Just Uncommonly Good Award, is a beautifully handcrafted pottery jug that is given to someone who has gone above and beyond in their service to the organization and the writers of our great state. The identity of this individual – or possibly these individuals – is a closely guarded secret until the announcement when their efforts are brought into the spotlight for everyone to celebrate.
If you are interested in attending this year’s Summer Conference, know that you will find a warm welcome full of helpful writing advice for an affordable price. The conference itself only costs $125.00 (members) for the 3-day package (please tack on an extra $25.00 for non-members) with pricing for one and two day attendance as well. Room and meal packages can be reserved with Cedar Lakes Conference center for reasonable rates as well. Visit http://wvwriters.org/home/annual-writing-conference/ for more information or to register.
The 2021 Summer Conference promises a return to some sense of normalcy after last year’s necessary cancellation due to Covid-19. While vaccination statistics within the state are climbing higher every day and West Virginia Writers Inc. is optimistic that this year’s conference will be nearly normal in its content and conduct, the organization recognizes that precautions need to be taken. All state guidelines will be adhered to including the indoor mask mandate that is not anticipated to be lifted until June 20th. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities available at Cedar Lakes to wash their hands often, use hand sanitizer, and adhere to any social distancing requirements in place at the time of the conference.