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Iconic poet, author and activist Nikki Giovanni delivering the keynote talk capping off the 2015 LA Writers Conference at Mount Saint Mary's.

Mount hosts inaugural LA Writers Conference

Mount Saint Mary’s MFA in Creative Writing program in Los Angeles is not quite a year old yet, and it has already thrown one of the largest and most diverse writers conferences in the city.

This spring, the University partnered with the L.A. chapter of the Women’s National Book Association to present the inaugural LA Writers Conference. More than 200 aspiring, accomplished, practiced and published writers came together on March 14 at the Mount’s downtown Doheny Campus. They arrived with one shared goal – learn how to turn creative stories into professional, literary work.

The 2015 LA Writers Conference, “Imagination: The Fiction Writer’s Life,” allowed participants to engage with a diverse and dynamic group of workshop leaders who are active in the world of words as professional writers, plot consultants, community writing groups, literary agents, editors, book clubs and booksellers.

“The biggest challenge for most writers is throwing yourself off that cliff of taking yourself seriously as a writer,” said Margaret Stohl, the event's opening keynote speaker, New York Times bestselling Young Adult author, and founder of YALLFest.

Conference participants chose from a variety of conference activities. Panels moderated by professionals in the business of writing and publishing books included pitch classes, one-on-one plot consultations, the future of publishing, and how to create a publishing team. Genre workshops, run by working writers, offered advice to those interested in speculative fiction, LGBT literature, romance and young adult literature. Students from the Mount’s MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Humanities programs, as well as undergrad students who joined in the discussions, noted that the genre workshop sessions were particularly constructive.

Nikki Giovanni, iconic poet, author and activist, closed the conference with a much-anticipated keynote talk about the craft of writing, and read from many of her most popular poems. “Everyone has a story to tell,” Giovanni told an audience who would later thank her with a standing ovation. “You ask, ‘how do I tell it?’ You tell it, first, by believing in it.”

Save the date for next year's conference: March 19, 2016.

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