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Gaithersburg Book Festival to Offer Free Writing Workshops for Adults and Teens  

Posted By: Gail Norris

April 5, 2016

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Festival Partners with The Writer’s Center to Deliver Courses on Writing for a Variety of Genre


Gaithersburg, Md. – April 5, 2016 – If you’ve ever dreamed about writing a best-selling mystery, the great American novel, children’s books or your own memoir, or wondered how to get your poetry published, you won’t want to miss the 7th Annual Gaithersburg Book Festival. In partnership with The Writer’s Center, the Festival will host a series of free writing workshops on Saturday, May 21, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of City Hall (31 S. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20877).


Interested participants can join the workshops on a first-come, first-served basis by registering in the workshop tent on the day of the Festival.


All workshops are for ages 16+ and include:


Mystery Writing Presented by Alan Orloff

If you’ve always wanted to write a mystery novel, but didn’t know where to start, this sample workshop is for you. In this workshop, participants will examine characteristics of the many subgenres (thrillers, too) and learn about mystery-specific conventions and pitfalls, such as Too Stupid To Live (TSTL) syndrome, macguffins, red herrings, killer twists, wacky sidekicks, smooth clue-dropping, and more.


Writing Children’s Books Presented by Mary Quattlebaum

Award-winning children’s author Mary Quattlebaum will guide a discussion on plot, character, audience and voice, as you explore stories for ages 2 to 8 (largely picture books and magazine stories). This workshop will be helpful for adults interested in writing for the children in their lives and/or for publication.
Getting Your Poetry Published Presented by Michele Wolf

Whether you have yet to submit your first poem to a literary journal or are ready to offer a publisher a book-length manuscript, this mini version of Michele Wolf’s one-day workshop at The Writer’s Center provides advice on how to succeed. Get tips on placing poems in print and online journals, why anthologies are such an appealing platform, how to publish chapbooks and books, the pros and cons of contests, the etiquette of poetry submission, how to develop your poetry network, and how to keep your morale high while facing rejection in a highly competitive field. A Q&A period will follow.


Memoir Essentials Presented by Cathy Alter

The best way to decipher the truth about yourself is by setting about the sometimes grueling, always revealing, usually embarrassing task of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). How else to process your childhood fear of dolls, make sense of your obsession with David Copperfield, or wonder what’s at the root of mother issues. In this one-hour workshop on the essentials of memoir writing, participants will learn how to frame a narrative, find a unique voice, reflect on the past through the present and much more. As a group, participants will discuss the hallmarks of all good personal essays, take time for a short writing prompt, and figure out where to best pitch your personal essays.


Creating a Memorable Character: The Truth Is in the Details Presented by Carol Westreich Solomon

Make your characters memorable by giving them more than just names, ages and hair color. Through a guided prompt, workshop participants can invent details that create dimension in their characters during this workshop.


Creative Writing for Teens Presented Lucinda Marshall

Using participatory writing prompts, teen writers will have an opportunity to experience and learn more about how workshopping techniques can assist them in their creative writing. Aspiring writers will have a chance to share their work and get feedback as time allows. They can also learn about Maryland Writer’s Association teen writing clubs, offered without cost at libraries throughout the state, and other resources to further their writing.


For more information about the workshops, the presenters and the schedule, including additional workshops geared to younger writers, please visit the Workshop page of the GBF website.




About The Writer’s Center

The Writer’s Center cultivates the creation, publication, presentation, and dissemination of literary work. We are an independent literary organization with a global reach, rooted in a dynamic community of writers. As one of the premier centers of our kind in the country, we believe the craft of writing is open to people of all backgrounds and ages. Writing is interdisciplinary and unique among the arts for its ability to touch on all aspects of the human experience. It enriches our lives and opens doors to knowledge and understanding. In addition to providing writing workshops—both on-location and online—we also host more than 50 outstanding literary events each year, featuring authors of local, national, and international renown. And with our partner organizations, we promote the local arts scene. For more information, visit


About the Gaithersburg Book Festival

The Gaithersburg Book Festival is an annual all-day celebration of books, writers and literary excellence. Now in its seventh year, the Festival has become one of the premier literary events in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The Festival takes place on Saturday, May 21, 2016, on the grounds of Gaithersburg City Hall, in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, Md. Activities include author appearances, discussions and book signings; writing workshops; a Children’s Village; onsite sales of new and used books; literary exhibitors and food, drink, ice cream and more. FREE admission and shuttle from Shady Grove Metro and Lakeforest Mall. The Gaithersburg Book Festival also hosts additional author events in Montgomery County throughout the year as a way to encourage continued appreciation for all things literary. For more information please visit or follow on Twitter @GburgBookFest.

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Sponsors & Partners!

The Gaithersburg Book Festival is one of the nation's premier literary events, featuring talks and signings by some of the world's top authors, writing workshops, children's activities and performances, literary exhibitors, book sales, music, food, and fun for everyone!
Starts: 05/21/2016 10:00
Duration: 6 hours:
Gaithersburg City Hall, 31 S. Summit Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD
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