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Save the Date Chuckanut Writers Conference June 26-27, 2020




Pre-conference Events: Thursday, June 25, 2020

Conference Events: Friday and Saturday, June 26-27, 2020


2020 Program Overview | Whatcom Community College

Pre-conference events start on Thursday, June 25, at 9:00 a.m. with optional master classes featuring faculty members Omar El Akkad, Sonora Jha, and Priscilla Long. These three- and four-hour master classes are limited in size and often sell out well in advance of the conference, therefore we recommend registering early for these additional options. 

The conference registration fee includes admission to a special pre-conference event that will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 25.

Conference check-in opens Friday, June 26, at 9:00 a.m. sharp. An optional info session to help you get the most out of your conference will be held at 9:15 a.m. Plan to arrive by 9:30 a.m. (or earlier) to park, check in, receive conference materials, and proceed to Heiner Theater for the conference welcome and opening address, which begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. The conference continues with multiple breakout craft sessions and extends into an early evening reception with readings and book signings by conference faculty.

The program continues Saturday, June 27, with a full day of breakout sessions, author panels, closing keynote address and an additional book signing. The conference concludes Saturday evening with concurrent open mics for conference attendees at venues in Bellingham’s historic Fairhaven district.

As co-presenter of the Chuckanut Writers Conference, Village Books is the exclusive on-site bookseller throughout the conference and will have titles by the faculty authors available for purchase.

Agent pitch sessions will be scheduled concurrently with other sessions throughout the conference. Pre-registration for pitch sessions and consultations is required. The deadline to pre-register for pitch sessions and consultations is Friday, June 12, but because spaces are limited and sell out quickly, we recommend registering early. There will be no sign-ups during the conference.

Please be aware this conference schedule is tentative and subject to change.


Thursday | June 25, 2020

Pre-Conference Master Classes

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Metaphor for Writers: What Are Metaphors Good For? How Do We Get Good at Making Metaphor? | Priscilla Long | Location TBD

This master class discusses the advances by linguists (George Lakoff and others) in thinking of metaphor as what every human being on earth uses every day to conceptualize the world. (Example: "Life is a journey.") Then we will look at kinds of metaphors and how we can get better at them, and actually develop a practice of making our own original metaphors. Metaphors are not decoration but rather an aid to visualizing, to seeing, to understanding. And they can be beautiful.

1:00 – 4:00 PM

Resistance Fiction | Omar El Akkad | Location TBD

What constitutes resistance fiction? What makes a literary work stand in opposition to political and societal injustice? In this master class, we explore some of the hallmarks of fiction focused on resistance and rebellion, with a special emphasis on works from outside North America. We also study some of the ways in which writers living under oppressive regimes have managed to use literature to criticize and expose those regimes.

1:00 – 5:00 PM

Query - Pitch - Agented | Sonora Jha | Location TBD

How do you get to the heart of your story for your pitch? How do you craft that dazzling and succinct query letter? How will you find the agent that sees into your soul? Come craft your story about your story.

6:30 – 9:00 PM | Special Pre-Conference Event TBD


Friday | June 26, 2020

9:00 – 10:00 AM | Conference Check-In | Syre Center Lobby

9:15 – 9:45 AM | Optional Info Session: Getting the Most Out of Your Conference | Location TBD

Join Paul Hanson, conference organizer and Village Books co-owner, in an optional info session on how to get the most out of your conference!

10:00 – 11:00 AM | Conference Welcome and Opening Address | Heiner Theater

Conference Welcome | Emcee Bob Winters

Opening Address | Tiffany Midge 


11:15 AM – 12:15 PM | Breakout Session 1


12:15 – 1:30 PM | Lunch

Choose from a variety of excellent lunch options, including a local food truck, the Community Food Co-op Cordata Store, the Dockside Café in Syre Center or nearby eateries—visit the information table in Syre Center for recommendations.


1:30-2:15 PM | Writers Studio Craft Talk

Lyanda Lynn Haupt | Heiner Theater 


2:30 – 4:00 PM | Breakout Session 2


4:00 – 7:30 PM | Reception, Faculty Reading, and Book Signing | Heiner Foyer and Heiner Theater

A highlight of the conference!

Be sure to join us for a chance to mingle and converse with authors and fellow attendees, and take advantage of the opportunity to get your books signed. And of course, you won’t want to miss the truly riveting and inspiring readings of our incredible faculty! Appetizers and a no-host bar with beer and wine will be provided from 4-5 p.m. Faculty readings will begin at 5 p.m.


Saturday | June 27, 2020

8:45 – 9:30 AM | Early Morning Sessions

9:45-10:00 | Announcements | Heiner Theater

Emcee Bob Winters


10:15 – 11:15 AM | Concurrent Author Panels


11:30 AM - 12:15 PM | Writers Studio Craft Talk

Anastacia-Renee | Heiner Theater


12:15 - 1:30 PM | Lunch

Choose from a variety of excellent lunch options, including a local food truck, the Community Food Co-op Cordata Store, the Dockside Café in Syre Center or nearby eateries—visit the concierge desk for recommendations.


1:30 – 2:30 PM | Breakout Session 4


2:45 – 3:45 PM | Breakout Session 5


4:00 – 4:30 PM | Closing Address


4:30 – 5:00 PM | Faculty Book Signing | Syre Auditorium

Last chance to mingle with authors and get your books signed!


7:00 – 8:30 PM | Open Mics in Fairhaven

Poetry Open Mic: TBD

Nonfiction Open Mic:  TBD

Mixed Genre Open Mic:  TBD

Fiction Open Mic:  TBD