Literary Agents, Engaging Panels and You! Register Now.

Registration is open for the May 4-5 Washington Writers Conference. Don’t hit the pause button. Register now.

Okay, this is an unpaid advertisement. Call it a PSA, call it whatever you like. I call it Books Alive! 2018, but my SEO betters insist on calling it the Washington Writers Conference.

The sixth annual whatever will be held at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in College Park, Maryland. Since the first in 2013, it has been my honor, privilege and task to help organize and recruit panels, panelists and keynote speakers for what has become a hallowed annual tradition.

The conference sponsors, the nonprofit online Washington Independent Review of Books (, on whose board I sit, went live in February 2011 after the demise of the Washington Post’s standalone Book World section. We post reviews and commentary daily.

The conference attracts agents to whom aspiring authors may pitch their ideas. Several registrants have signed on with agents, and several book contracts and published books have resulted from these brief but life-changing one-on-one encounters. Self included. One agent alone has secured five contracts for authors he met with at the conference. All registrants are guaranteed three pitch sessions. Register by Jan 31, you get a fourth.

While many come to pitch, we are also proud to offer a full lineup of literary stars. Our keynote speakers have been Marie Arana, biographer, memoirist and last editor of Book World;    David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; best-selling sports author John Feinstein; the legendary Bob Woodward; and the iconic Judith Viorst, whose children’s books have become classics but who also writes for and about adults.

This spring, we will welcome as our luncheon keynoter Bob Schieffer, the former CBS-TV news anchor and “Face the Nation” moderator and author most recently of Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News.

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The conference kicks off Friday night with a meet-greet-and-eat reception, followed by a panel on how to pitch to an agent. Saturday morning sessions feature a conversation with acclaimed novelist Alice McDermott, a panel of veteran nonfiction authors sharing their tricks of the trade, and a how-to on how-do-write-a-page turner. Afternoon sessions cover Political Books in the Age of Trump, “Women of Crime,” Sci-Fi authors, Climate Change and Debut Authors.  This isn’t cotton candy. This is the real deal.  Come and learn a thing or three.

There is an early bird rate currently in effect.  But why wait? Register now! For starters, go to our home page: and then click on the conference links for more information.

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