Critique Fest


Have a piece of your writing read and critiqued by peers and a published writer in Friday’s CRITIQUE FEST!

The Critique Fest session is going to be magical—an incredible opportunity to get feedback from successful authors and your peers. Learn to receive ... and give ... feedback that can take your writing to the next level.

Critique Fest will be led by Sands Hall, author of the national bestseller, Catching Heaven and a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. A popular teacher, she leads workshops and lectures for such conferences as the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival,  She is currently an adjunct assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, PA, where she is also the editor of the F&M Alumni Arts Review.

Often conference critique sessions offer you feedback from one person, one perspective. It may be exactly what you need, or are ready to hear—or not.

In this session, your work will be critiqued in a small group setting of peers and a published writer and teacher of writing. You will hear many voices making suggestions for your work.

Additionally, you will hone your skill as an editor as you learn how to give and receive critique in a positive way that will stimulate your own writing development and make you a valued member of any writing group.

Critique Fest is a separate ticket from the main conference.

Joining Sands are five incredible authors. You can click on their names below to find out more about them.

 Catharine Bramkamp:  Author of 15 books, co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast that focuses on newer writers and their concerns, dynamic writing coach and Chief Storytelling Officer for Winesecrets.


Kim Culbertson: Award-winning author of five YA novels. Much of her inspiration for her novels comes from the work she’s done as a high school teacher for the last eighteen years.


Dimitri Keriotis:  Author of short fiction, writing instructor and co-founder of High Sierra Institute.


Chris Olander: Poet/Teacher with California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) since 1984.


Jordan Fisher Smith: Nonfiction author of Nature Noir and Engineering Eden,  freelancer for, New Yorker, and Discover, narrator of the Oscar-shortlisted film “Under Our Skin.”

How this session will work:

What to bring: Please arrive with EIGHT COPIES of a piece of your writing—limit 250 words: copies for each peer, one for the instructor, and one for the notes you’ll want to take.
250 words may not sound like a lot, but much can be gained from feedback on that amount of writing. 
You might want to hear how the opening of your story or novel is working. Is the voice in your poem doing what you want it to do? Are you presenting yourself effectively in a piece of memoir.? You might be looking for help with imagery, with introducing a character, or in handling transitions. If you feel a need to include introductory material, it needs to be part of your 250 words, but bear in mind that readers usually manage to get things from context.

What to expect: As you arrive at the Fest, you’ll draw a number—lottery system—that determines the group and the instructor you will join. Once everyone’s in place, Sands will offer some thoughts on how to give and receive effective critiques, and then off you’ll head to your assigned space with your peers and instructor.
Groups are limited to six participants, facilitated by an instructor. After brief introductions, each participant reads their piece aloud and receives commentary. As time permits, participants also write notes on the piece under discussion. The instructor sums up and then moves to the next writer (time limits are adhered to so that everyone gets critiqued). At the end of the workshop, participants return the piece to the writer with any notes they may have made, You will learn much about your own writing in working this way on the writing of others!


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