The idea of conducting a conference in Ridgefield for writers has been percolating for years in the mind of writer and editor Adele Annesi. When she met Ridgefield author Chris Belden, who is also a teacher and workshop leader, while studying for an M.F.A. in creative writing at Fairfield University, and began picking his brain on the subject, he shared her enthusiasm for the idea. They decided to give themselves a year to plan; in determining who would help, they turned to Fairfield faculty and other writers they knew.
The result of their collaboration will the first Ridgefield Writers Conference, a daylong event scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Main Street. The conference will include a continental breakfast, keynote address, morning and afternoon workshop sessions, morning and afternoon panels on publishing and media, agent consideration, post-conference networking and evening readings. The evening session will be open to the public.
“We wanted to produce a conference that is more literary than usual, geared toward serious writers, providing hands-on help and in-depth time in workshops,” said Ms. Annesi. “We want to have an environment where writers can be nurtured, especially if they are at a pivotal point in their work. Participants should have something in progress that needs shaping.”
Mr. Belden liked idea of attendees being immersed in all aspects of writing for the day, noting, “We want to provide same breadth of coverage as weeklong conferences. Each participant selects one workshop of two sessions — two hours in the morning, two in the afternoon — and will do in-class writing as well as attend two panel discussions with publishing professionals and meet agents.”