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The Hollihock Writers Conference returns to New Bedford this weekend

At the Hollihock Writers Conference in 2016. It will once again be held at the Star Store UMass Dartmouth campus this weekend.

For the past few years, late August has meant more than back to the classroom for just students. Since the Hollihock Writers Conference launched in downtown New Bedford in 2015, it’s meant back to class for professional writers as well.

Hollihock, in a nutshell, is a three-day writers conference full of panel discussions to help writers improve their work, discover new venues for their words – and perhaps cope with being a writer, which, when done correctly, is a demanding profession.

“All of our authors and presenters have a strong connection to the New England area because we believe that strengthening our community is the best way to improve personal growth,” is a core Hollihock belief. It’s a sentiment shared by this co-working facility, Groundwork!, and it’s one of the reasons we are happy to be a sponsor of the Hollihock Writers Conference.

It will take place from Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27 at the Star Store campus of UMass dartmouth (715 Purchase Street, NB). You can find the Facebook event page here and also visit their full website – and purchase tickets to the conference – here. Daily or full weekend passes are available.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you attend: Over this three-day conference, take part in discussions about the literary world of creative writing, poetry, and non-fiction; attend panels to learn tips on finding an agent and writing query letters; get your hands dirty in workshops and master classes; and hear professional writers share their work.”

Keynote speakers include Jabari Asim, Ken Liu and Steph Burt. New Bedford’s Poet Laureate, Patricia Gomes will also be conducting a  “Writing in Silence” during the conference at 2:00pm and will be serving on a panel discussion, “Women’s Leadership: Poetic Engagement & Social Change” with Janet Aalfs and Sara Rivera at 4:00pm that same day.

It was at Hollihock last year that this writer was blown away by Gomes’ powerful recitation of her poetry. It was a highlight in a weekend full of highlights. The Hollihock conference last August was a wonderful and intense three days and arrives back in New Bedford with energy and purpose. In its third year, Hollihock is part of the dynamic trend sweeping through all aspects of city life, reinvigorating the culture and igniting a new spirit of creativity throughout the region.

The founders and prime movers behind Hollihock are Dominic Perri and Kelsey Knoedler – a dynamic duo unto themselves. I spoke to Dom last year and you can read that post here. After Hollihock, we were happy to continue collaborating with him during both the Fall and Spring New Bedford Bookfests and look forward to his company again at the Children’s New Bedford Bookfest this October.

Kelsey also knows a thing or two about writing. Her Hipstorical website is taking a fresh look at places of interest around the country and growing in popularity nationwide. It’s history repurposed, reinvented, and reimagined.

Which means New Bedford is the perfect place for both her, Dom, and writers and authors of all kind – especially during this unique weekend, the third annual Hollihock Writers Conference in a city that is being repurposed, reinvented and reimagined before our eyes every day.

Steven Froias