October 21, 2021

Writers Helping Writers – Flathead Beacon

Writers in the Flathead can polish their writing tools at the 2021 Flathead River Writers Conference on Oct. 15-17, where nationally distinguished authors and editors will lead a workshop series sponsored by Authors of the Flathead.

This year marks the 30th annual conference, which will be held via Zoom and feature a group of Northwest Montana writers mentoring other writers remotely. 

Seminars will delve into various subsets of the craft and look at sustainable success in the industry. Attendees will gain insight into the changing publishing landscape and learn tips for establishing and maintaining a book series. Writers will also get tips on maximizing their talents by learning how to write fast and well and make their stories come alive. 

Whitefish local Dennis Foley started Authors of the Flathead 30 years ago after establishing himself as a successful Hollywood producer and screenwriter. The novelist and writing instructor, who taught locally at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) for several years, wanted to build a community where established writers could mentor less experienced writers and help nurture their careers. 

According to conference coordinator and Kalispell local, Craig Thomas Naylor, most lecturers are from Big Sky country originally. 

“The Flathead has a very active and widely published group of writers, many of whom have worked with us and attended the conference,” Thomas Naylor said. 

Conference presenters include award-wining novelist and literary editor Keir Graff, author Babs Montjoy whose fantasy series Clans Elves of the Bitterroot is set in Montana, USA Today bestselling Christian author Tricia Goyer, author entrepreneur Maggie Hogarth and more. 

The one-hour workshops will convene throughout the day with a lunch break. During the final event, “First Impressions,” attendees can submit the first page of a manuscript and receive instant feedback from literary agent Courtney Miller-Callahan, author and educator Larry Brooks and editor Chelsea Cambeis. 

In addition to the annual conference, Authors of the Flathead hosts weekly meetings every Thursday at 7 p.m.; a yearly membership fee is $25. Along with Foley, senior members include New York Times Bestseller Susan Purvis and Montana suspense writer Christine Carbo. 

The conference welcomes writers of all ages. 

“We’re encouraging middle school and high school writers, too,” Thomas Naylor said.

Registration is still open and interested writers can register for the two-day series or Saturday’s lectures only; Friday’s five-hour workshop with Brooks is full. 

To register, visit www.authorsoftheflathead.org/conf-registration or call Craig Thomas Naylor at (406) 250-8867.

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