The "big names" for this year's conference include Robert Dugoni, Hallie Ephron and Chuck Palahniuk.
Robert Dugoni will be the Friday luncheon speaker. He is the bestselling author of The Jury Master, Damage Control, Wrongful Death, and Bodily Harm. He has northwest connections and currently works for a Seattle law firm. His conference topic is Step up. Swing the Bat. Get Published.
Hallie Ephron, member of the ridiculously talented Ephron clan, reviews crime fiction for the Boston Globe and is the author of several suspense novels. She also wrote Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel: How to Knock 'Em Dead with Style. Ms. Ephron will share her mystery writing experience in several workshops during the three-day conference as well as serve as the luncheon speaker on Saturday (What They Don't Tell You Because If They Did, You'd Never Get Started).
Chuck Palahniuk is the author of the bestselling Fight Club, which was made into a film, as was Choke. His most recent novel is Tell-All. Damned will be published in 2011. He is a native and resident of the Pacific Northwest and has a cult following of sorts for his edgy fiction. Fittingly enough, his keynote address at the Saturday banquet will be Write to Wreck Your Life (and Get a Better One).
The conference offers several workshop tracks: General Fiction, Genres, Nonfiction, Children's/YA, and Film. The workshops are aimed at all levels of writers, from beginner to advanced.
This year I see there are several workshops addressing corporate writing that will help attendees write their way out of the recession as copywriters and freelancers.
The Sheraton Airport Hotel in Portland hosts the conference and the staff does a phenomenal job. The conference's Saturday mid-day meal is the largest luncheon the hotel serves all year. Access is easy off I-205.
Willamette Writers is the largest writers' organization in Oregon and one of the largest in the United States. It has nearly 1,600 members with chapters in Eugene, Medford, Newport, and Salem. The monthly meetings in Portland host concurrent sessions for Young Willamette Writers. The chapters also conduct informative monthly meetings.