Conversations & Connections, a writers conference by lit mag Barrelhouse

Barrelhouse's Conversations & Connections April 2015 conference at JHU's International Studies school on Embassy Row.

Barrelhouse’s Conversations & Connections April 2015 conference at JHU’s International Studies school on Embassy Row.

I attended the April 2015 Conversations & Connections: Practical Advice on Writing in Washington, D.C. It was a one-day conference organized by D.C.-based lit mag Barrelhouse. They have these C&C conferences twice a year and rotate locations.

I’m not sure how they pull these off because I feel like I received more from them than I what paid for. The reg fee was only $70. In return, I got a book, a year’s subscription to one of the participating lit mags, access to editors, and honest-to-God one-on-one time with editors (first time was free, each additional time was $5).

Quick hits:

  • Attendance was capped at 125.
  • Attendees were from a wide age range.
  • Many of us were either flying solo or there with one acquaintance.
  • If you, like me, like to mix & mingle, there was plenty of in-between time to pull a panelist aside and introduce yourself, ask a question, make a joke with, etc…
  • If you are petrified of unstructured meet and greet time, no worries. Many folks around me made introductions while waiting for a session to start, standing in line to speed date an editor, standing in line to use the one bathroom, etc…
  • Speed dating an editor was awesome. They were just as nervous as I was!
  • I attended a craft lecture, an editors’ panel, and an advice panel on the art of the hustle. All were valuable uses of my time.

Bonus! I learned about a hilarious podcast two Barrelhouse editors put out every Monday. Book Fight! I highly recommend it. Good times!

Hamid Karzai's prestigious photo located next to the potty.

JHU’s International Studies building on Embassy Row features photos of world leaders who have spoken to students. Hamid Karzai’s prestigious photo…located next to the potty.

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