We can’t believe it’s already been four days since the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference! We had a wonderful time learning and hanging out with our fellow young writers in Chicago and hope you did too.
Friday night was our annual pizza party to kick off the conference weekend, hosted this year in the lobby of our hotel. (The weather was a bit too chilly/rainy to host the party outdoors.)
Saturday morning, the conference itself began! We held Ch1Con this year at the SPACE by Doejo event center in downtown Chicago. LOOK AT OUR BEAUTIFUL CONFERENCE ROOM.
(Also, a HUGE thanks to all of the wonderful authors who donated book swag to Ch1Con this year for our attendees!)
We began the morning with “Young, Scrappy, & Hungry: A Panel of Young Publishing Professionals,” featuring Patrice Caldwell (Associate Editor, Disney-Hyperion) and Brent Taylor (Literary Agent, Triada US), with New York Times bestselling author Kody Keplinger (The DUFF) moderating.
Next up was Kody’s keynote address, called “Why Try?” In her inspiring talk and Q & A, she spoke about the importance of taking chances and opening yourself to opportunities.
After the keynote, we took a break for lunch and our annual group picture (minus Brent, who unfortunately had to catch a flight right after his panel). Keep an eye out for these smiling faces, because we have a feeling you’re going to see them announcing book deals soon.
Throughout the day, attendees also had the opportunity to to answer a couple questions on white boards throughout the room. We started doing this in 2016 and it’s now one of the team’s favorite parts of the conference. We absolutely love seeing all the answers (especially when attendees do things like star and draw arrows in order to show that another person’s answer resonates with them).
After lunch, we moved into the workshop portion of the day. This began with a stellar, hands-on opening lines workshop by author Annie Sullivan (represented by Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis), titled “How to Hook an Agent.” Before the conference, attendees had the chance to anonymously submit their opening lines for the workshop, and with Annie’s guidance everyone gave critique in order to help their fellow young writers make their opening lines stand out.
Our second workshop was the fun and inspiring “Getting Frazzled: A Study in the Creative Process of Figuring Things Out” by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Booki Vivat (the Frazzled series). Booki taught attendees how to combine words with images in order to tell a complete story–and gave them a chance to try their own hand at it.
Between sessions throughout the conference, our team of volunteers asked attendees literary-themed trivia questions in order to win prizes. Attendees got to choose between a variety of Advance Reader’s Copies, signed books, posters, tote bags, and (our personal and not-at-all-biased favorite) Ch1Con crew-neck sweatshirts. At the end of the day, all attendees went home with at least one prize (and we actually had collected so many prizes this year, everyone had the opportunity to choose a second!).
The last session of the day was our annual Ask Anything lecture, which we live-streamed online! You can watch it here, or we’re conveniently embedding it below:
Following the panel, Kody and Booki signed copies of their books for attendees. (There was also an awesome ukulele-fueled jam session going on at the other end of the conference room, which we had nothing to do with, but ADORED.)
Overall, Ch1Con 2017 was fantastic and we can’t wait for next year.
Thanks for joining us for the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference. See you in 2018!
— The Ch1Con Team
P.S. It was really difficult choosing photos for this blog post, because there were so many excellent ones this year. To see all the photos from Ch1Con 2017, check out this Google Drive folder!
P.P.S. A humongous thanks to conference attendee (and amazing photographer) Christel for helping us take pictures this year!