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Mystic River author, Dennis Lehane, to be keynote speaker at FIU’s Writers Conference Oct. 24-26


For those looking to write the next New York Times bestseller, the historical narrative of our time or even an Oscar-nominated screenplay, the Writers Conference is the place to be.

Now in its 27th year, the annual event brings together aspiring writers from all over the country to participate in workshops taught by acclaimed authors, editors and agents. This year, the conference will feature nine daily seminars focused on various genres, among them poetry, narrative non-fiction and memoir.

The three-day gathering will also hold a series of evening readings and a special panel on electronic publishing.

David-Lehane-Boston-Globe

“Live by Night,” Dennis Lehane’s latest novel, received the Edgar for Best Novel of 2013 this past May. Photo by Aram Boghosian/ The Boston Globe

This year’s highlight will be a talk by Dennis Lehane MFA ‘01, author of “Mystic River” and an alumnus of the FIU Creative Writing Program in the Department of English. Lehane was a guest several years ago when he spoke about his own struggles to make it as a writer and gave a presentation on writing effective fiction, said Les Standiford, director of the conference and the writing program.

“Ever since, people have been asking for an encore, and we have finally worked it out,” Standiford said.

Conference instructors will include author Steve Almond, poet and FIU creative writing Professor Campbell McGrath and Dan Halpern, editor-in-chief at ECCO Press (a division of Harper Collins), among others. Designed to appeal to both novice and experienced writers, the event has the names of a big conference with the advantages of a close-knit atmosphere.

“We foster a ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality,” Standiford said of the camaraderie that forms among participants.

The registration fee for the event is $400 and, for an extra $75, writers can have their work evaluated by a professional during a one-on-one manuscript conference. The conference will be held at the Biltmore Hotel and Resort and is co-sponsored by Books & Books.

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