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« Tips for Writers from Chicago Writers Conference Director Mare Swallow | Main | Q and A with Michael Burke about his story collection What You Don't Know About Men »

Q and A about the Chicago Writers Conference with Founding Director, Mare Swallow

1.  You're the founder and director of the Chicago Writers Conference (CWC); please tell us a little about how the idea of the conference originated.

Long story short: there was no conference in Chicago for Writers; specifically, a conference where you could network with writers, editors, publishers and agents. If I wanted to attend one, I had to drive 4+ hours and spend easily $1000 of my own money. So I created what I wanted here. 

2. CWC is heading into its fifth year - how have things progressed for the conference since its first year?

We've been able to expand the offerings, with more programming on Friday and Sunday. We've been able to bring in traveling speakers, and we've added intensive workshops, based on demand. This year we're adding a talk that's open to all attendees on Friday, also due to demand. 

3.  What would you say has stayed the same?

The quality! It's consistently high. Anyone who has worked with me (yourself included) knows I'm particular about quality, and about making sure the audience gets a good bang for their buck.

4.  Why should writers, both aspiring and more experienced, attend the conference?

A few reasons. Inspiration always happens, and I find this is true whenever I attend any conference. Networking and community are important, too. Writing can feel so solitary sometimes, and at each CWC, I see writing groups forming, and people making new friends.

If someone is an "advanced" writer, s/he will find new knowledge on what to do in the digital space - that's something we always keep up with. What should a writer do (or not do) online? What about her/his social media? We feature speakers like Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media to tell us about current online trends, and how to stay relevant, and findable via google. An "advanced" writer  knows that there is always more to learn.


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