The San Miguel Writer's conference, in its ninth year, attracts writers from all over Mexico, the United States, Canada, and this year included participants from England, Australia and Morocco. This year, there are 300 full conference attendees, and some of the keynote speakers draw as many as 900 people. There are workshops on everything from travel writing to playwriting, from how to find an agent to how to make characters come alive, from young adult novels to book promotion, and so much more. This morning, I attended a panel on the new era of publishing, covering everything from traditional publishing to do-it-yourself and everything in between. The panelists described five types of publishing, all ... [Continue Reading]
The most fun thing about coming to a writer’s conference is not what happens in the officially scheduled sessions, but what happens in the cracks between sessions. There’s the fun of exploring San Miguel, but there’s also the conversations, connections and adventures that happen with fellow participants over meals, while getting lost, while shopping, or sometimes while drinking tequila. Last night, for instance, I was supposed to have dinner with Ellen Bass, my co-author, who’s doing a keynote speech at this conference, and her dear friend Beverly, who lives nearby and is spending the week with Ellen. I made some reservations at a nearby restaurant with a great view of the city, but when it was time to meet, Ellen told me she had to go to a special event with the other keynote ... [Continue Reading]
A small snippet from David Whyte’s keynote address about why readers need to live a courageous life:
"Writer's block has to do with the attempt to keep a conversation going long beyond its shelf life."As an antidote, David suggested the discipline of asking ourselves "beautiful questions," questions that enable us to have a conversation between our history and the ground on which we stand and the new, unknown horizon before us. These are some of the beautiful questions David suggested:
- What is my relationship to the unknown?
- What is my relationship to silence?
- How much am I in a real conversation with something other than myself? What relationship do I have to voices other than my ... [Continue Reading]
Since the San Miguel Writer’s Conference is a tri-cultural festival, the conference features evening keynotes from authors from the US, Mexico and Canada. This year’s Canadian author was Yann Martel, best known for his bestselling novel, The Life of Pi. The conference brochure described Yann’s talk as follows: “At a time when the arts are increasingly marginalized, reduced to being mere entertainment, Yann Martel will speak about how the act of creating art and the act of receiving it are fundamental to human understanding and happiness.” My favorite part of his presentation was his vivid, wry description of the guerilla book club he founded—a unique book club with a membership of two. [Continue Reading]