will bring a few hundred participants.
DeMarchi, however, has been careful to invite only “those who are passionate about teaching writing,” he says. To headline the conference and tease interest, he’ll include best-selling Florida writer Sue Monk Kidd, for instance, last year’s keynote whose novel The Secret
Life of Bees has been immensely successful. Writer Alice Hoffman is this year’s featured speaker. Her novel The
Rules of Magic is released this fall. But those of us attending the Sanibel Island Writers Conference also want insider tips and instruction, mostly from a trusted core that DeMarchi has long invited. For example, he says, “Lynne Barrett’s [plot workshop] is always packed and people always say it’s one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of the conference.
“Steve Almond is incredibly popular and very funny, incredibly charismatic and smart, and no matter what topic he talks about, people rave about it every year; he can talk about creating characters, developing narratives, writing sex scenes, or all kinds of stuff … and it’s always popular.”
Other headliners will include the songwriter Dan Bern. His workshops are a “completely participatory experience,” DeMarchi says, “where everyone is singing together at the end. He’s a guy I had to chase down and kind of beg to come to the conference.”
From musicians to comedic writers, DeMarchi continues to add to the list of extraordinary talent invited to the Sanibel Island Writers Conference. Essayist and best-selling writer Sloane Crosley, for example, “is someone who worked in publishing as a publicist or an editor for a while, but she was also writing while she was working in the publishing industry, and she was publishing all these essays that were hilarious and smart.”
Crosley, a regular contributor to such publications as Esquire, The New York Times and Vanity Fair, will make a first appearance in November, her workshop on writing essays.