I had the good fortune to attend the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference this month. The annual gathering celebrated its 18th this year, and I’ve been there for most of them, because of its writing community.
The Kachemak Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula College hosts the conference, under the University of Alaska Anchorage. Thanks to the direction of Carol Swartz and her diligent staff, the conference is well organized and full of great activities. A nationally known keynote speaker (Diane Ackerman this time) sets the tone for each year’s conference. Faculty members, many Alaskans and some from Outside, lead writing workshops and panels about the craft and business of writing and the writing life. Manuscript reviews and consultations with editors and agents give plenty of one-on-one opportunities. But most of all, from Friday’s dinner to Tuesday’s lunch, everyone is made to feel welcome and part of the writing community.
I’ve felt that way since my first year, when I was a high school teacher who didn’t consider herself a “real writer.” It doesn’t matter if you have a dozen published books or you’re not sure what your first completed manuscript will be—here, you’re a writer. You are a part of the group, learning along with everyone else. You have a voice and a place at the table. People cheer at the open mics read by the attendees just as loudly as they do for the faculty at the public readings. Everyone is celebrated. That’s what pulls me back to Homer year after year.
Plus, the view is always stunning!
Thanks, #KBWC2019! Hope to see you next year!
Lynn Lovegreen is a longtime member of 49 Writers. She writes young adult historical fiction set in Alaska. www.lynnlovegreen.com