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'Women Writing through Struggle' writer's conference set for February 28

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 19 - February 5, 1998

Women's Month 1998 at Virginia Tech will present a writer's conference entitled "Women Writing Through Struggle" Saturday, Feb. 28, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center.
The featured writer for the workshop is Kim Barnes. Barnes is the author of In the Wilderness, the story of her coming of age in a repressive religious culture and a wild, isolated landscape that shapes her heart and soul. She has co-edited Circle of Women, an anthology of writing by contemporary western women and published stories and poems in numerous journals, including The Georgia Review and Shenandoah. In a kickoff for the day-long workshop, Barnes will read from her works February 27 at 7 p.m. at Volume Two Bookstore.
The writer's conference features concurrent workshops in the morning and afternoon, with participants choosing one workshop from each group. The four morning sessions, which begin at 9:30 a.m., are on writing poetry, novels, and short stories, and writing for performance. After the lunch break, there will be a panel presentation on marketing and publishing. The four afternoon sessions, beginning at 2:15 p.m., are on writing memoir, children's books, erotica, and journals. At 4:15 p.m., participants will have an opportunity to read from their works.
Cost of the workshop is $10 for students and low-income participants and $15 for non-students. Checks should be made payable to Treasurer, Virginia Tech (CEC). Registration will be taken through conference day, but space is limited.
Ann Kilkelley, Virginia Tech professor of theatre, will present the keynote address on women writing through struggle at 9 a.m. She also will present the writing-for-performance workshop. Kilkelly is a noted performance artist.
The poetry workshop is for beginning and more advanced writers or those who just want to explore a new possibility for communication. It will be conducted by Katherine Soniat, whose third collection of poetry, A Shared Life, won the Iowa Poetry Prize and a Virginia Prize for Literature.
Ann Goette (Goethe), who will conduct the novel workshop, is the author of Midnight Lemonade, which was a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured Alternate Selection and a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discovery Prize. She is presently working on a novel, Hitler's Jew, and a collection of short stories called The Children's Hour. Participants are asked to submit 10-15 pages of their works-in-progress to the Women's Center by February 13 if they wish to have their work discussed during the session.
Simone Poirier-Bures of Virginia Tech's English department will present the workshop on short-story writing. Poirier-Bures is the author of Candyman, a novel set in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and That Shining Place, an award-winning memoir of Crete. She also has published more than two dozen short stories and essays in journals in the United States and Canada.
The panel presentation on marketing and publishing will feature Barnes and Lisa Norris, as well as Poirier-Bures and Soniat. Norris, an instructor in Virginia Tech's English department and consultant in the department's University Writing Program, has published stories, poems, and essays in a number of journals, including Grand Tour, Southern Poetry Review, South Dakota Review, and Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review.
Barnes will conduct the session on memoir writing, which will cover questions about the writing of personal history and ways to overcome specific difficulties in writing nonfiction. The writing of children's books will be discussed by Lissa Bloomer, who has seven children's books now circulating among publishers. She is an instructor of English at Virginia Tech.
The session on writing erotica will be conducted by Holly Sowell, the coordinator of the Women's Month activities. Gyorgyi Voros, also an English instructor at Tech, will conduct the session on journals. Voros has served as editor of Poetry New York and assistant editor of Parnassus: Poetry in Review and has published poetry in such publications as Sequoia, Appalachia, Boulevard, Terra Nova and the New York Arts Journal.
The Women Writers Conference is sponsored by Women's Month 1998 in conjunction with Volume II Bookstore, the University Bookstore, the Women's Month Planning Committee, the University Writing Program, the Department of English, the Visiting Writers Series and the Women Studies Program. For more information, call 1-7806.