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2021 Fall Conference
A Symposium on Literary Activism
Presented by Orange Hat Publishing

October 9, 2021
9 AM - 5 PM

The Wisconsin Writers Association is excited to announce our Fall Conference, Raising Our Words: A Symposium on Literary Activism. For the 2021 conference we wanted to step away from talking about craft and turn the conversation to the power of our words. Your words have the ability to change your community and your world. We've gathered top activists and writers from across the state to spend the day with us as we learn how to wield our pens for the power of change. 

This conference was originally supposed to be a hybrid gathering both online and at NO Studios in Milwaukee, our first since 2019. But with the rise of COVID, once again we've chosen to make this an entirely virtual conference. Hopefully we will see each other in person again soon! 

Meet Our Speakers

Dasha Kelly Hamilton 

Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist, curator and facilitator. Ultimately, she's a creative change agent, leveraging the creative process toward human and social wellness. Her nonprofit, Still Waters Collective, initiated literary arts programming for 20 years, creating platforms for thousands of voices to be honored and heard. The organization continues to partner on impact projects, including a creative leadership fellowship. Dasha has written for national, regional and local magazines; produced three collections of poetry; recorded four spoken word CDs; published two novels and one collection of personal vignettes; has work included in several anthologies; and performed in the last season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Her stage production, Makin' Cake, will tour nationally beginning in 2022.

Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson has been a much sought-after speaker, researcher, and writer for over a decade. He specializes in sharing seldom-told stories and facts about the experiences of African-Americans and other peoples of color past and present, helping institutions and individuals understand how our country’s racial hierarchy developed historically and its impact on our lives today. Reggie is a Co-Founder and Lead Trainer/Consultant for Nurturing Diversity Partners, a consulting firm that fosters diversity, inclusion, and equity within institutions and communities. He writes and provides background on current racial issues to regional, national, and international media.

Steve Salmon

Steven Salmon has severe cerebral palsy.  Morse code is how he writes using his head since he is unable to use his hands.  Steven has a Bachelor of Science in English and a writing minor from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  Also, he earned a Liberal Arts degree from Madison College.  Steven is a client of The Purcell Agency.  His books, It’s A New Life Mom Is Gone and I Found Love is available on Amazon.  Steven writes a newsletter for Integrity Residential Services.  He loves the outdoors, football, basketball, and being with friends.  Steven lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his cat, Lindy.  To learn more about Steven, please visit www.stevenbsalmon.com

Lora Hyler 

Lora Hyler is a former reporter for NPR affiliate, WUWM and ABC affiliate, WISN, both in Milwaukee, WI. She also worked in corporate communications for WE Energies and Journal Communications. In 2001, she founded her public relations and marketing company, Hyler Communications, and has worked with large companies and universities in the Milwaukee area such as Northwestern Mutual, MillerCoors, Quad Graphics, and Marquette University. She also worked in television for two years on NBC affiliate, TMJ4.  

Margaret Rozga

As 2019-2020 Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Margaret Rozga co-edited the anthology Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems (Art Night Books, 2020) and the chapbook anthology On the Front Lines / Behind the Lines (pitymilkpress, 2021). Her fifth book of poems is Holding My Selves Together: New and Selected Poems (Cornerstone Press, 2021). Rozga’s poems draw on her experiences and interests as an educator, avid reader and researcher, parent, and advocate for social and racial justice. She served as guest editor of the Summer 2021 issue of Bramble and is currently the first artist/scholar at the UWM-Waukesha Field Station.

Anne Katz

Anne Katz is executive director of Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s community cultural development organization, whose mission is to nurture, serve, promote, and speak up for the arts in Wisconsin and all of its communities.  She guides Arts Wisconsin’s programs and activities, serves Wisconsin’s diverse and ever-expanding creative community, and advocates and builds partnerships in the public and private sectors for the arts and creative industries on the local level. Anne was an Arts Administration Fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988, and was a member of the 2014-2015 class of National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program, a global leadership program focused on community cultural development. Under Anne’s leadership, Arts Wisconsin received the 2004 Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts from the Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts.   Anne has received the Alene Valkanas Arts Advocacy Award from Americans for the Arts, the “Service to Music” Award from the Association of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestras, and the Wisconsin Visual Art Achievement Award.  Anne serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Public Radio Association, Leadership Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Downtown Action Council.     

Our Schedule at a Glance

9:00 AM - Welcome (Barry Wightman: WWA President)
9:10 AM - Dasha Kelly Hamilton (Wisconsin Poet Laureate)
10:45 AM - Keynote Reggie Jackson (Co-Founder, Nurturing Diversity Partners)
12:30 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Steve Salmon (Wisconsin Author) 
1:30 PM - Anne Katz (Executive Director, Arts Wisconsin)
2:45 PM - Lora Hyler (Wisconsin Author & 2021 Jade Ring Winner)
3:45 PM - Dr. Margaret Rozga (Past Wisconsin Poet Laureate & Activist)

How to Register

 As an added bonus for this conference we will be offering Advanced Manuscript Critiques with authors Laurie Scheer and and Christine DeSmet. Scroll down to read all about the Advanced Critique process.

Member Price*

Early Bird - $50
After 9/15 - $80

Nonmember Price*

Early Bird - $70
Early Bird & Become a Member -$90
After 9/15 - $100
After 9/15 & Become a Member - $120

Add Advanced Critique: $125 (scroll down to read all about the Advanced Critique process)

*Please note - Price does not include advanced manuscript critique options. Those options and prices can be added during registration.

About Advanced Manuscript Critiques 

Advanced Manuscript Critiques provide an opportunity for you to work with a writing professional and gain feedback about your writing.

Our instructors are available to provide you with feedback for your first 10 pages or any 10 pages of your fiction or nonfiction manuscript. Choose a critique mentor and a time to meet during the days around the conference (Information on how to do this provided during the registration process). During your scheduled meeting time they will provide a written critique and one-on-one feedback for you as you continue to hone and define your work. You will meet with your instructor for 30 minutes for a personal meeting via a phone or virtual call.

Fiction Critique Meetings with Christine DeSmet
(Only 10 Spaces Available) 

Christine DeSmet focuses fast on what's working and what can be improved for better storytelling and improved acceptance with editors, agents, and readers. Her analysis is thorough, from punctuation to plotting, giving you clarity on how to move a draft swiftly toward proud publication. For this conference, Christine welcomes projects in these areas: picture books, Middle Grade, YA, all adult fiction areas including historical, short stories, and screenplays. Please be sure to indicate your genre/area for the project when submitting material. Your fee includes the conference one-on-one meeting and feedback, plus Christine's look at your revised pages and unlimited questions after the event. Christine is accepting 10 critiques/meetings.

Christine DeSmet is a professional writing coach and critique expert, as well as award-winning novel author and screenwriter. Through her position as a Distinguished Faculty Associate at University of Wisconsin-Madison, she helped hundreds of writers leap from beginner status to advanced or published. She is a WWA member and also belongs to several national writing associations.www.ChristineDeSmet.com

Nonfiction & Fiction Critique Meetings with Laurie Scheer

Laurie Scheer recognizes that all good nonfiction narratives begin with a question and proceed to answer that question. Editors, agents and readers evaluate nonfiction narratives and memoirs based on their timeliness, compelling subject matter, what the work brings to the current marketplace, and, ultimately to society. Her analysis addresses the continuity of the subject matter, dialogue, story and individuals’ development throughout the narrative along with comments regarding the structure and pace of these pages. For this conference Laurie welcomes projects in these areas: creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, journalistic articles, and book proposals. She will also accept fiction projects. Please be sure to indicate your genre when submitting your material. Your fee includes the conference one-on-one meeting and feedback, plus Laurie’s look at your revised pages and unlimited questions after the event.

Laurie Scheer has assisted writers in the entertainment industry and at institutions of higher learning throughout her diverse career as a producer, consultant, and faculty member. As a professional speaker, she has participated in nationwide writing events annually. She has mentored hundreds of writers through to their successes. She served as the director of the well-renown UW-Madison Writers’ Institute for over a decade and was the founding editor of the Midwest Prairie Review. Laurie is currently a writing mentor who works one-on-one with writers to achieve their writing goals. She is a co-founder of New Nature Writers, an organization dedicated to writing about Nature. She is a WWA member and has served as a judge for the prestigious Jade Ring Writing Contest. www.newnaturewriters.com

Thank You to Our Sponsors! 


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