Utah authors can get work critiqued at writers workshop

Published: Saturday, Aug. 14 2010 3:03 p.m. MDT

Brandon Mull is one of the authors who will answer questions at workshop.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's writing community is turning heads, and on Aug. 21, Writing for Charity event organizer Kristyn Crow invites aspiring authors to attend an all-day workshop where they will have the chance to get their work critiqued by successful Utah names in children and young adult literature.

"We have a lot of editors saying, 'What's going on in Utah?' because a lot of great books are coming out of Utah and we have such a connected writing community," Crow said. "It's turning heads, so we're proud of that."

The event, hosted by the Children's Literature Association of Utah, will take place at the Waterford School Performing Arts Building in Sandy and aims

to raise money for books that will be given to schools that are in need of them.

Crow said with each registration fee, the organization will sponsor one Utah class so that every child in that classroom will get a book.

"We hope that this will inspire these kids, get them to read and be excited about reading," Crow said. "When you make a positive impression early in a child's life associated with reading books, it sets them up for success, and that's really what we hope to do."

Crow has been a picture book author since 2004 and said she made crucial connections at a writing workshop that led her to getting her work published.

"These writing things really work and are helpful," Crow said, "that's why we want to encourage everybody to come out and get connected with an author and hopefully magic will happen for people who attend."

Utah picture book author Anne Bowen has published eight books in 10 years and said most of her connections have come through writer workshops.

"That personal contact made all the difference in the world," Bowen said. "I think that's the opportunity to network and learn a lot, not just about the process of writing but how as writers we're all experiencing the same anxiety and fears and learning about each other."

The writing workshop will begin with an author question-and-answer system, Crow said, and will be broken up into genres so that participants can get specialized critiques on their writing from Utah authors in each category. The day event will culminate in an author signing with books provided by The King's English.

Utah young adult author Wendy Toliver said the chance to get exposure in the writing community is something every budding author should take advantage of.

"If I was just starting out and a nationally published author was reading my project and giving me feedback, I would be jumping up and down," Toliver said. "It's a priceless opportunity for writers."

For those intimidated by the prospect of sharing their work, author Kristen Chandler urges everyone to attend regardless of how much experience they have.

"I think one thing that's really great about the writing community is that it's very supportive," Chandler said. "It's not an issue of where you are, it's where you want to go."

Crow said this year the event will include an Evening Extravaganza with performances by Divine Comedy and Nancy Hanson, as well as a silent auction with prizes ranging from themed gift baskets to a featured spot on an author's blog. A panel of Utah writers including Brandon Mull, James Dashner and Bree Despain will also be there to answer questions from attendees.

Crow said the evening event is an opportunity for those not interested in writing to support the cause and make sure every child has the chance to get lost in a good book.

e-mail: amears@desnews.com

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