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There's Still Time To Register For Chicago Writers Conference

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 23, 2012 7:30PM


Conventional wisdom has long held that a writer in Chicago move to the one of the coasts in order realize aspirations for mass success. Author Mare Swallow is hoping to change that with the inaugural Chicago Writers Conference. The three-day conference Sept. 14-16 at Tribune Tower aims to bring writers, publishers, editors and agents in a networking event rarely seen in Chicago.

“My aim is not to make Chicago another Manhattan,” Swallow said during a phone interview late last month. “One of the best ways to connect with an agent is to meet one in person, but there’s no conference locally that allows writers to do that.

"There's even a writers conference in Muncie, Indiana, but to attend I would have to make travel arrangements and pay for extra expenses out of pocket."

The idea for Chicago Writers Conference spun from Creator Camp Chicago, a one-day networking event for creative types organized by Swallow and her business partner Neil Gorman. She started working on the conference in June 2011 and was able to secure Tribune Tower as the site.

“For people attending the conference—we have people traveling from across the country to attend—I wanted something beautiful and historic,” Swallow said. “I didn’t want to host this in another hotel.”

Last month the conference announced a partnership with Open Books, a local organization that promotes literacy through tutoring programs. CWC will provide a limited number of scholarships for Open Books volunteers and staff members who want to learn more about the publishing business. Open Books, in turn, will provide volunteers for the conference. “I’ve been successful in my life because people have helped me,” Swallow said. “And I want to see others be successful, as well.”

Swallow is also proud of the scheduled readings, which she insisted include writers who are participating in the conference. "It's nice to have the big name readers participating, but these are writers (attending) who want to get their work out to a wider audience."

Registration for the Chicago Writers Conference is open through Aug. 31. Register online here.