This weekend, I spent a couple of days at a really super writers’ conference at the University of Florida at Gainesville, the Storytellers’ Summit, which was organized by Dr. William McKeen and Professor Mike Foley, two incredibly talented and inspirational journalists and teachers. There were over 200 attendees.
And, again at this conference as was the case at the one I attended in February in a far different setting, I spent time with some really wonderful people:
Michael Connelly, the down-to-earth, bestselling author who told us he had actually graduated from the University of Florida 30 years ago this weekend.
Rick Bragg, the outrageously funny and brilliant Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, bestselling author and fanatical sports fan.
Andrea Billups, the gorgeous journalist and author formerly from Florida, now living in Michigan.
Dear Roy Peter Clark, client, friend and mentor.
Nicole Cisneros McKeen, Bill’s wife and editor of the Engineering School Alumni magazine, who made me feel immediately welcome.
Jeffrey Klinkenberg, award winning journalist and book author who had great stories to tell. (I wish we’d had more time to chat).
Wonderful Tom French, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author and incredibly talented and inspirational teacher and his beautiful wife Kelley, a superb journalist herself who I am hoping will be writing a proposal for a book very soon.
Steve Johnson, a talented photojournalist and precocious junior at the university who many are certain will some day rule the world.
Witty and brilliant Norton book editor Amy Cherry with whom I shared a panel and who I like and respect deeply.
I have always found these gatherings so inspirational. We talk about the business and our experiences, we learn from each other, we discuss ideas for new projects, we laugh a lot.
I encourage everyone who can possibly do this to find at least one conference a year to attend – I think you will learn a great deal from doing so. If you have already been to some of these, I would be most interested in hearing about your experiences.