|by Fay Jacobs|
|Writers at the Beach Gather in Rehoboth March 11-13
If it weren't for the tragic fate that befell two little boys, Sam and Zachary Juhlman, dozens and dozens of writers from all over the area and well beyond would not be gathering in Rehoboth Beach at the Atlantic Sands Hotel on March 11-13.
Maribeth Fischer, Aunt Maribeth to the late Sam and Zachary, published author and area resident founded The Rehoboth Beach Writers' Guild (RBWG), in November 2004, as a non-profit organization dedicated to the fostering of the literary arts in Southern Coastal Delaware.
From that organization came Writers at the Beach: Pure Sea Glass, an annual gathering of authors, agents, publishers, songwriters, poets and more.
The Writers at the Beach conference was first held in 2005 to provide an outlet for people involved in, or who want to be involved in the writing/publishing industry. And, the conference was also held to raise funds for Mitochondrial Disease Research, the illness that claimed Maribeth Fischer's nephews at ages 8 and 15.
Maribeth Fischer herself is a published writer with quite a resume. This local Rehoboth resident is the author of two published novels: The Language of Goodbye and The Life You Longed For, not surprisingly about a family whose youngest child suffers from Mitochondrial disease.
Since that first conference, 100% of the proceeds from this event are donated in honor of these boys in whose name Writers at the Beach: Pure Sea Glass was founded and in whose memories the conference continues each year. The little known disease affects as many as 1 in 2000 children and the conference aims to raise awareness of the disease while giving a gathering of writers the chance to tell their own stories, whatever they may be.
In the last three years, thanks to the writers, agents, editors, publishers and songwriters who all volunteerno one is paid to teach, participate in panels or otherwise lend their talents to the conference; and thanks to local restaurants which provide deeply discounted author dinners; and Browseabout Books which provides all manner of volunteer assistance, "Writers at the Beach has donated over $35,000 to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation in honor of Sam and Zach Juhlman."
According to founder Maribeth Fischer, in addition to raising money, Writers at the Beach is Delaware's largest writing conference, bringing to Rehoboth nationally-known writers from across the U.S., as well as participants from nearly two-dozen states.
"This year, the keynote speaker will be Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the number one New York Times bestselling novel, The Deep End of the Oceanchosen as the first book for Oprah Winfrey's Book Club and named by USA Today in 2007 as one of the most influential books of the past 25 years, second only to the Harry Potter series. Mitchard, like everyone else speaking or teaching, is doing this for free.
The conference includes classes, workshops, conversations with authors and agents, manuscript reviews and more. Some of the topics include: Write Brain Workout, Blogging for Writers, Deadline Time Already? (disclaimer: workshop taught by the author of this article), Self Publishing, Writing Beautifully About Ugly Things (nonfiction, Narrative Poetry, The Art and Craft of Screen writing and much, much more.
The very popular author dinners are being held this year downtown at Cultured Pearl, Fusion, Cloud 9, Fins, and Celsius, providing an opportunity for conference attendees to chat with the authors in a casual and social atmospherewhile taking advantage of Rehoboth's wonderful restaurants.
The $215 Conference fee includes coffee and light breakfast, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, full lunches on Friday and Saturday, cocktail party on Friday evening, and access to all workshops, readings, discussions, and conversations.
Manuscript reviews are $40 and the Saturday night author dinners are $50.
Attendees may also send an extra donation to Mitochondrial Research by mailing a check to Writers at the Beach, PO Box 1326, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971.
Writers at the Beach is a great and growing gathering of industry professionals sharing their knowledge and insight with wannabe writers, accomplished writers, and all manner of people interested in the craft and writing industry. And of course, it's a gathering of people who want to raise awareness of the terrible disease that took Sam and Zack way too soon.
For information on Writers at the Beach, call 302-226-8210.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No.02 March 07, 2008