Hello, readers! Today I'm participating in the Ch1Con & Ch21Con 2018 Blog Tour, an annual tour in preparation for this year’s conferences, which brings original content from the Chapter One Events team to a number of fantastic, writing-related blogs. I'm going to be interviewing team member Katelyn Pettit, so stay tuned!
As you know from my stint as a founding team member prior to me becoming too sick to work, Chapter One Events is a nonprofit organization that brings writing information and publishing opportunities to young writers—culminating in the annual Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con, ages 11-20) and the brand new Chapter Twenty-One Conference (Ch21Con, ages 21-29). The Chapter One Events team is composed of a mix of middle school, high school, college, and twenty-something writers, who work together to create a unique, inclusive experience for young attendees.
The two conferences bring tweens, teens, and young adults together to hear from accomplished authors their own age, participate in professional workshops, and celebrate the influence young writers have on the world. With an atmosphere that combines the professional aspects of writing conferences with the awesomeness of hanging out with fellow young book nerds, Ch1Con and Ch21Con are truly can’t-miss events!
This year, Ch1Con (ages 11-20) is bigger and brighter than ever, with more opportunities, cooler giveaways, and a new roundup of fantastic speakers headlining the conference. And the inaugural Ch21Con (ages 21-29) will feature the same speakers and opportunities—just tailored to a slightly older audience. Both conferences will take place Saturday, August 4th at the Hilton Garden Inn--Chicago O’Hare in Des Plaines, IL. Registration is currently open on the conferences’ respective websites at an early bird discounted rate of $74.99. (This price includes a complimentary pizza party lunch during the conferences, with alternate options available for those with dietary restrictions.)
The speaker lineup features Karuna Riazi (author of The Gauntlet, Simon & Schuster), Amanda Foody (author of Ace of Shades, Harlequin Teen), Christine Herman (author of The Devouring Gray, Disney-Hyperion spring 2019), and more! Between the awesome presentations and workshops, attendees will have the chance to participate in literary trivia games and giveaways, with prizes including professional critiques, signed books, and advance readers copies (ARCs). There will also be an author panel open to any and all questions at the end of the conferences, followed by a book signing by participating speakers.
During downtime, all participants are free to explore Chicago, relax at the beautiful hotel (where a discounted block of rooms is available for attendees), and network with one another, establishing the sort of vital connections that can jumpstart careers and create lifelong friendships.
The conference weekend will kick off with parties on Friday evening. For the Ch1Con crowd, this will be a picnic at the nearby Chippewa Woods Forest Preserve, which is about five minutes’ walk from the hotel. There will be a group order to Jimmy John’s for those who would prefer not to bring their own food. (In case of inclement weather, alternately the Ch1Con party will take place at local eatery Tiffany’s Restaurant.) For the Ch21Con crowd, the Friday night party will be an informal cocktail hour hosted at the hotel bar, the Garden Grille & Bar.
More information on transportation and lodging can be found on the Ch1Con and Ch21Con websites. Early bird registration is currently available here for Ch1Con (ages 11-20) and here for Ch21Con (ages 21-29). Those under 18 need a parent or guardian’s consent in order to register.
For those in need of financial assistance, Chapter One Events is hosting a spring short fiction and poetry-writing contest, for which the prizes are discounted conference admission and publication in an eBook anthology. Learn more about the contest here (for writers ages 11-20) and here (for writers ages 21-29).
Now it's time for my blog's special content! Today I'm interviewing Katelyn Pettit, the Nonprofit Coordinator for Ch21Con.
Katelyn is a badass at everything not-for-profit, so she organizes all of the Chapter One Events nonprofit paperwork and legal stuff (as well as doing lots of other awesome things as a member of the Ch21Con team, of course).
Katelyn recently graduated with honors from Oakland University, where she received her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She has previously interned at Dzanc Publishing, worked as a freelance editor, and studied Medieval Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford University. When she’s not wishing she was back at college studying instead of being in the big, bad, real world, she’s either reading, writing, or teaching herself Japanese. She loves to travel, which means she works a lot to save up the money to do so, and her current goal is to work in Children’s/YA Literature, bringing fresh, diverse voices from around the world to the genre(s). But, for now, she spends most of her time trying to keep from spending her entire paycheck on candy--something that’s not easy to do when you have a sweet tooth the size of Canada!
Find Katelyn Online: Twitter / Instagram / Blog
1) How did you become involved with Chapter One Events?
I have known Julia Byers, the founder of Chapter One Events, since elementary school. We both grew up loving books and writing, and she is the one who introduced me to the organization. I went to my first conference in 2016 and joined the team as Nonprofit Coordinator at the end of that year. I absolutely loved everything I saw when I was at the 2016 conference, and I knew I wanted to be a part of a team that helps promote community for young writers; it’s something I wish existed when I was younger.
2) What book did you recently read that you'd love to recommend?
I can’t ever just pick one book so I’m going to recommend two. In YA fiction, I recently read The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and very much enjoyed it. I will admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Holly Black in the past--I simply didn’t jive with her writing style at the time--but it was amazing to see how much her writing has progressed over the years, and I would definitely recommend this novel to those who like fantasy novels involving faerie.
I’ve always been a big fan of nonfiction as well. I’m someone who wants to know everything about everything, so I love reading about history, science, mythology; the list goes on and on. My favorite historian is Ian Mortimer. I have used his works in the past to do research for novels and he has a phenomenal way of walking the reader through the landscapes that he’s talking about so that you feel like you’re actually there seeing the places and people he’s talking about. I just finished The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England, and although it wasn’t released recently, it’s a fabulous resource and interesting read.
3) What book are you most looking forward to reading?
I’ve noticed quite a push for faerie novels recently (as you might be able to tell from my book recommendation) and they all sound really good. One (or technically three) I’m looking forward to reading is The Falconer Trilogy by Elizabeth May. This was actually recommended to me by a Chapter One Conference attendee, so I have really high hopes. I’m always set to dive into anything fantasy, and this one happens to be set in Edinburgh, Scotland--a place I absolutely love! The setting sounds totally magical, so I’m betting the book will be too. Fingers crossed.
4) You love to travel, so where's your favorite place you've been?
I was very, very lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad at Brasenose College, University of Oxford in Oxford, England, and I am not kidding when I say that it is truly one of the most magical places on earth. If you are anything like me and you love writing, fictional and/or scholarly, Oxford is a place you must visit! There is so much incredible history in one city that it honestly takes your breath away. So many incredible writers came out of Oxford and I swear you can feel it in the air. There are tons of tours and museums so history buffs can get their fix too.
Edinburgh, Scotland is another must-visit for me. You enter into the downtown area and it’s like you’ve walked into a fairytale. You can see so much of the old architecture from hundreds of years ago blended with the new, and it really creates an atmosphere perfect for writers and artists. The people are crazy-friendly and there are tons of free walking tours, perfect for exploring the city on a budget. 10 out of 10 would recommend!
5) What's your biggest piece of advice for writers?
Oh gosh, this is such a tough question. For this, I can only speak from my own experiences and hope that I can help young writers learn from my mistakes. Ultimately, my biggest piece of advice is this: NEVER stop writing. You’re going to have moments when you want to give up, where you think you’ve peaked and there’s no way for your writing to get better. There is going to come a time when you lose hope entirely in yourself and your abilities. This is normal but you HAVE to work through it. Don’t let these moments stop you in your tracks--keep writing. Write through the block and do your best to suppress the little writer’s voice inside of you that’s telling you you’re not good enough. We all have that voice--every single one of us--and that voice can be really mean. That voice can also be really inaccurate. The only way we get better as writers, and we can always get better as writers, is to keep writing. And, as cliche as this is probably going to sound, it’s true what people say: you are the only person who can tell your story. So write it!
That's the interview! (Thanks so much, Katelyn!) So, if you’re a young writer and you’re interested in these conferences, register ASAP! With a growing number of tweens, teens, and young adults discovering the magic of Chapter One Events, seats are sure to sell out fast. The last day for early bird pricing is May 31st. For more information and to join the Ch1Con and Ch21Con communities online, check out the following links:
Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ages 11-20)
Chapter Twenty-One Conference (Ages 21-29)
You can also follow the rest of the Ch1Con & Ch21Con 2018 Blog Tour via the respective websites.
The Chapter One Young Writers Conference
Every story needs a beginning. This is yours.
The Chapter Twenty-One Conference
The twenties are rough, man. We’ll get through them together.
Meanwhile, I will see you all again next week for an On This Day in My History post!
Images via Chapter One Events.
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