Whidbey Island Writers Conference welcomes literary lights

Posted in Festivals, Literary, More Stories

Whidbey Life Magazine editor
Oct. 22, 2013

If you’re a writer, you probably know all about Coupeville’s literary conversion each year, when folks descend from near and far to focus on writing and books.

Karen Finneyfrock

Author Karen Finneyfrock is one of the keynote speakers at this year’s conference who will set the tone for the days. / Photos courtesy of NILA

Writers, agents, editors and publishers will gather at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference in Coupeville from Friday evening, Oct. 25 through Sunday morning, Oct. 27. This is the 15th anniversary of the event, which is produced by the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (NILA).
As in previous years, the conference’s trademark chat houses and intimate conversations between writers and attendees will make up the bulk of the event, but this year’s conference promises some new and noteworthy additions:

  • Keynote speakers Karen Finneyfrock and Randall Platt will set the tone each day.
  • Songwriter Ian Moore will spearhead a session on songwriting and lyrics.
  • Writers Storme Webber, Kelli Russell Agodon and Mary Willis will speak about defining the female voice in writing.
  • Nicole Persun will lead a specific segment on writing for young adults.

This conference places a strong emphasis on the business side of writing, too, and features two dynamic duos who get into the nitty gritty of writing for publication, including:

The craft of writing also gets its due with several novelists talking about the form including:

  • Doyce Testerman, Anjali Banerjee, Sheila Roberts, Kevin O’Brien, Peter Mountford and Ryan Boudinot.

Don’t forget the pitch!

  • Agents Andrea Hurst and Pooja Menon are among the faculty who will take pitches and help writers to refine their messages.

This year, NILA has managed to find a way to give back to Whidbey Island schools with its half-day Young Writers Workshop and songwriting session, available to all Whidbey Island middle and high school students for only $10, which also includes lunch. Young writers will take tips from young-adult writer wunderkind Persun, writer of short stories, poetry, essays and two novels.


Nicole Persun will teach a workshop about writing for young adults, one of her fortés.

Admission for the Young Writers Workshop is limited to 50 participants, who will not only learn how to get started, but also how to maintain their writing life. Moore will also open his workshop to students, when participants will learn about how song lyrics and poetry work together to create great writing.

Another highly anticipated event this year is “Write Night” at Jenne Farm at 538 S. Engle Road in Coupeville on Saturday, Oct. 26 and is open to the general public to help support NILA’s Youth Writing Program.

“Write Night” features a poetry slam hosted by Hedgebrook poet Storme Webber and live music with Moore.


Singer-songwriter Ian Moore will teach adults and youths how to write a good song at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference on Saturday, Oct. 26. / Photo courtesy of Ian Moore website

Write Night party is open to the first 100 registrants for $20.

Authors participating in The Whidbey Island Writers Conference along with radio show hosts from Whidbey AIR Internet Radio will be on hand to meet and greet the public on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. at a book signing reception in the Commons at Coupeville High School.

See the full schedule for the conference here.

Registration for the conference is open. Regular Conference Fee for the full weekend of events is $300; Whidbey Island Writers Assoication Members pay $250. (Become a WIWA Member for $50 for the discount.)

For more information, visit the website or contact Conference Program Chairperson Kim Cottrell at (360) 929 9431.

(Pictured at top, a photo used for the cover of an Italian edition of Anjali Banerjee’s “The Library of New Beginnings.”/ Photo by Marta Bevacqua)


  1. What a sweet lineup! You can’t go wrong with YA folks like Finneyfrock, Platt, Persun, and Banerjee (who also writes for adults). There’s a lot to learn about action and dialog in this genre that will make any writing pop. And there’s a whole list of other authors, editors, and agents, too. And thank you, WIWC team for supporting our young writers and songwriters. I remember many years ago hearing an internationally known author say that he used to think Maui had the best writers’ conference—until he went to Whidbey’s. We’re lucky, folks. Don’t miss this opportunity!

    • I agree, Deb. And a poetry slam down on Jenne Farm open to the public with Storme Webber and live music sounds pretty darn special, as well!

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