I normally stick to science in this blog, but there's one event every year for which I have to interrupt that theme, because the Pikes Peak Writers Conference deserves all the accolades it can get. The PPWC is a gathering in late April of each year (it began in 1993) to celebrate, teach, and inspire writing. I've been a dozen times or more, and it's always worth the effort and cost (the latter is significantly less than for most conferences, by the way).
(Don't take my word for it: here, from another attendee, is a great testimonial)
The PPWC is known as the friendliest writer's conference around, a reputation kept up every year with lots of mix-and-mingle opportunities (there's no separate lounge for faculty and speakers: they are part of the general population here), a great setting in a nearly flawlessly-run hotel with lovely views of the Rockies, and an army of volunteers who make sure everything is taken care of. Mary Kay Meredith was an awesome Director.
If you're interested, here's a blog you should most definitely follow.
The largest group of attendees is always the novel-writers, but there is programming for screenwriters, memoirists, and anyone else you can name. The speakers are great: I was limited in my attendance by business trips this year but did hear a hilarious keynote from Jim Hines.
No event involving human beings is perfect, and I have voiced two concerns.
One is to the hotel: we're on top of a steep hill, there are 300+ people, and there are four handicapped parking spaces. I talked to an assistant manager who said, "Maybe we'll improve when we resurface the parking lots." As I said, the hotel is ALMOST perfectly run in support of the Conference.
The other concern is for the conference organizers (and I admit I should be thinking about how to be more active and useful myself: I pledge every year that I'll be a more active volunteer, and somehow I always let that ambition get crowded out.) There aren't enough minority attendees: somehow, we're just not attracting them. I looked for non-Caucasian attendees in the crowd and spotted a small handful of Hispanic and Asian faces and not a single African-American.
Those aside, I learned a lot, made friends, and made memories. (Did I mention the Pikes Peak Writers offer programming all year round, and membership is FREE?)
Here's to 2015!