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Schedule of Events

Please note: This schedule is subject to change. Thank you for your understanding.

Main Conference Schedule

Tuesday, September 12

1:00 pm Registration Opens
4:00 pm Opening worship
5:15 pm Reception
6:15 pm Dinner
7:30 pm General Session 1: Rachel Held Evans

Wednesday, September 13

8:45 am General Session 2: Rachel Held Evans
9:45 am Break
10:15 am Breakout Sessions: Robert Benson, Jeff Chu, Roger Freet, Frank Thomas

Robert Benson: “Go to Your Room: Becoming a Working Writer”
In this practical seminar, acclaimed writer and teacher Robert Benson will talk about cultivating habits and practices that will help you write and see yourself as a writer.

Jeff Chu: “From Fear to Hope”
Fear of inadequacy. Fear of grammatical error. Fear of humiliation. Fear of nonexistent sales. For so many writers, fear is a near-constant companion. Jeff will explore his long, tortured, and continuing relationship with his writerly fears and insecurities. We'll explore the power of turning that inward fear into the gift of empathy. And we'll consider how to channel that negative energy into something positive: hope.

Roger Freet: “How To Find the Right Publisher: What Are Editors and Agents Looking For?”
There are many book publishing options for authors writing on religious and spiritual themes, so how do you know which publisher is the best for you? What is the difference between a trade publisher and a more “niche” specialty house? Which editors acquire books in your category and why? Must an author have an agent in order to be published by one of the “big five” trade houses? What does a literary agent actually do? And what are the financial realities in the publishing industry that have the greatest impact on authors? Time will be allotted for Q&A after the presentation.

Frank A. Thomas: “Listening to Your Life: The Backstory Behind the Sermon”
This workshop helps develop an understanding that every sermon has a backstory. Much like an iceberg, where the largest part of the iceberg is underwater, so it is with the sermon. The sermon is the tip of the iceberg, and what is underwater and unseen is a huge mass of feeling, depth, and passion. Not that every sermon has to expose the backstory to the audience, but it is instructive to the preacher to understand how the biblical text intersects with their own deepest thoughts and feelings. The preacher will discover where the text speaks to their lives even as they speak the text to the audience. An awareness of how the text speaks to the preacher’s life helps the preacher maintain a more authentic relationship with God.
12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Breakout Sessions: Jeff Chu, Lil Copan, Leslie Leyland Fields, Marly Youmans

Jeff Chu: “The Hospitality of Storytelling”
A story is an invitation. In memoir and personal essay, you beckon readers to try out your lens, to accompany you as you retrace your footsteps, to look for points of convergence between your experience and theirs. In journalism, fiction, and even sermon, typically you tell others' stories, issuing an invitation that's slightly different but no less significant—and often more freighted with significant responsibility. In this workshop, we'll explore what it means to see storytelling as an act of hospitality. What responsibilities does a writer have when issuing such invitations? And how do you honor not just your own version of the truth but also the needs, concerns, and humanity of the others who might be in the frame?

Lil Copan: “Developing a Project Idea”
You have scraps, notes, files, Evernote clips—and a jumble of hopes for writing a book. So how do you find the clear, true note—that one big idea—for a book project? This workshop provides you with starting points to discern that true note. You'll learn how to develop the ever-elusive "hook" that keeps a book interesting, and you'll leave with some tools for building out a book's architecture.

Leslie Leyland Fields: “Fearless! Overcoming the Seven Fears of Every Writer”
Leslie Leyland Fields has written ten books while raising six children, teaching, and commercial fishing in the Alaska wilderness. She shares 30 years of experience in facing and overcoming the perennial fears and obstacles that face every writer:
  • I don't have enough time to write!
  • Help—I've got writer's block!
  • Others are better writers than me!
  • How can I possibly finish this project?
  • How do I tell the truth about that?
  • I have nothing original to say!
  • No one will read my book!
Marly Youmans: “13 Ways of Looking at Form”
The double helix and the nautilus shell and spiral galaxies, the number of petals in a flower, the spiraling patterns on pine cones and pineapples: the presence of the golden ratio or Fibonacci sequence suggest that the energies of our universe tend toward shapeliness and order. So, too, poetry and stories lean toward form, and a vibrant connection exists between truth, beauty, and form. Tropes and forms can be generative, and a single writer working in multiple modes can find them to be transformative, as one form fertilizes another. The pursuit of shapeliness in fiction and poetry leads to questions about the connection between shapes and modes of thought, clarity of form versus essential mystery, tightness of craftsmanship and formal invisibility. A devotion to form and words may even lead to larger changes in form—in the maker, the culture, and Creation.
3:50 pm Free time/ One-on-one meetings
7:00 pm Open Mic

Thursday, September 14

8:45 am General Session 3: John Ortberg
9:45 am Break
10:15 am Breakout Sessions: Roger Freet, David Morris, Sophfronia Scott, Marly Youmans

Roger Freet: “How To Find the Right Publisher: What Are Editors and Agents Looking For?”
There are many book publishing options for authors writing on religious and spiritual themes, so how do you know which publisher is the best for you? What is the difference between a trade publisher and a more “niche” specialty house? Which editors acquire books in your category and why? Must an author have an agent in order to be published by one of the “big five” trade houses? What does a literary agent actually do? And what are the financial realities in the publishing industry that have the greatest impact on authors? Time will be allotted for Q&A after the presentation.

David Morris: “Writing for a Time Such as This”
All writing, however beautiful, insightful, and timeless, is embedded in the time in which it is created. It is located socially, personally, historically, and culturally. This presentation will explore some of the ways that writing is a prism through which to perceive our world and to illuminate hope and healing. We’ll take time to consider examples of creative work that is located in other places and times, and then move toward conjectures on the questions and pinings of our time, the events that are shaping our spiritual focus, and the state of American religious imagination.

Sophfronia Scott: “The Art of Memoir”
The decision to write memoir can be both exhilarating and paralyzing. You know your story has value, but all you can see are the obstacles ahead. This workshop will gently guide you through a process to help you grasp the story you want to tell and shape it into a page-turner readers will want to read. You’ll learn how to develop scenes, communicate voice, and put fully formed personality into your work. You’ll also learn how to be a researcher of your own life to help you round out the facts or find vital missing pieces.

Marly Youmans: “13 Ways of Looking at Form”
The double helix and the nautilus shell and spiral galaxies, the number of petals in a flower, the spiraling patterns on pine cones and pineapples: the presence of the golden ratio or Fibonacci sequence suggest that the energies of our universe tend toward shapeliness and order. So, too, poetry and stories lean toward form, and a vibrant connection exists between truth, beauty, and form. Tropes and forms can be generative, and a single writer working in multiple modes can find them to be transformative, as one form fertilizes another. The pursuit of shapeliness in fiction and poetry leads to questions about the connection between shapes and modes of thought, clarity of form versus essential mystery, tightness of craftsmanship and formal invisibility. A devotion to form and words may even lead to larger changes in form—in the maker, the culture, and Creation.
12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Breakout Sessions: Lil Copan, Leslie Leyland Fields, Marilyn McEntyre, Sophfronia Scott

Lil Copan: “Developing a Project Idea”
You have scraps, notes, files, Evernote clips—and a jumble of hopes for writing a book. So how do you find the clear, true note—that one big idea—for a book project? This workshop provides you with starting points to discern that true note. You'll learn how to develop the ever-elusive "hook" that keeps a book interesting, and you'll leave with some tools for building out a book's architecture.

Leslie Leyland Fields: “Fearless! Overcoming the Seven Fears of Every Writer”
Leslie Leyland Fields has written ten books while raising six children, teaching, and commercial fishing in the Alaska wilderness. She shares 30 years of experience in facing and overcoming the perennial fears and obstacles that face every writer:
  • I don't have enough time to write!
  • Help—I've got writer's block!
  • Others are better writers than me!
  • How can I possibly finish this project?
  • How do I tell the truth about that?
  • I have nothing original to say!
  • No one will read my book!
Marilyn McEntyre: “Living by Lists: How a Simple Practice Can Enrich Your Writing Life”
List making serves a variety of purposes: people make lists to get organized, to plan the day, to set priorities, to clarify pros and cons, to explore their feelings, to dispel mental fog, to articulate goals, to identify their deepest purposes. When you make a list, putting down whatever comes up, you begin to clarify your values, your concerns, the direction your life is taking, your relationship to your inner voice, your humor, your secrets. Lists are mirrors and maps. A list can grow up to be a poem, a table of contents, a song, a credo, a litany. In this session we’ll look at how lists can enrich writing practices at every stage of a project.

Sophfronia Scott: “The Art of Memoir”
The decision to write memoir can be both exhilarating and paralyzing. You know your story has value, but all you can see are the obstacles ahead. This workshop will gently guide you through a process to help you grasp the story you want to tell and shape it into a page-turner readers will want to read. You’ll learn how to develop scenes, communicate voice, and put fully formed personality into your work. You’ll also learn how to be a researcher of your own life to help you round out the facts or find vital missing pieces.
3:50 pm Free time/ One-on-one meetings

Friday, September 15

8:45 am Breakout Sessions: Robert Benson, Marilyn McEntyre, David Morris, Frank Thomas

Robert Benson: “Go to Your Room: Becoming a Working Writer”
In this practical seminar, acclaimed writer and teacher Robert Benson will talk about cultivating habits and practices that will help you write and see yourself as a writer.

Marilyn McEntyre: “Living by Lists: How a Simple Practice Can Enrich Your Writing Life”
List making serves a variety of purposes: people make lists to get organized, to plan the day, to set priorities, to clarify pros and cons, to explore their feelings, to dispel mental fog, to articulate goals, and to identify their deepest purposes. When you make a list, putting down whatever comes up, you begin to clarify your values, your concerns, the direction your life is taking, your relationship to your inner voice, your humor, your secrets. Lists are mirrors and maps. A list can grow up to be a poem, a table of contents, a song, a credo, a litany. In this session we’ll look at how lists can enrich writing practices at every stage of a project.

David Morris: “Writing for a Time Such as This”
All writing, however beautiful, insightful, and timeless, is embedded in the time in which it is created. It is located socially, personally, historically, and culturally. This presentation will explore some of the ways that writing is a prism through which to perceive our world and to illuminate hope and healing. We’ll take time to consider examples of creative work that is located in other places and times, and then move toward conjectures on the questions and pinings of our time, the events that are shaping our spiritual focus, and the state of American religious imagination.

Frank A. Thomas: “Listening to Your Life: The Backstory Behind the Sermon”
This workshop helps develop an understanding that every sermon has a backstory. Much like an iceberg, where the largest part of the iceberg is underwater, so it is with the sermon. The sermon is the tip of the iceberg, and what is underwater and unseen is a huge mass of feeling, depth, and passion. Not that every sermon has to expose the backstory to the audience, but it is instructive to the preacher to understand how the biblical text intersects with their own deepest thoughts and feelings. The preacher will discover where the text speaks to their lives even as they speak the text to the audience. An awareness of how the text speaks to the preacher’s life helps the preacher maintain a more authentic relationship with God.
10:15 am Break
10:30 am General Session 4: John Ortberg
11:45 am Close and sending
Noon End

Conference Add-On: Advanced Writer’s Retreat Schedule

Tuesday, September 12

11:00 am–3:00 pm Workshop including lunch

Wednesday, September 13

4:00 pm–6:00 pm Workshop

Thursday, September 14

4:00 pm–6:00 pm Workshop

Contact
(626) 584-5200
(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182


Admissions
admissions@fuller.edu