One Summer Conference’s Honest (Self-)Appraisal

It’s officially winter here in New York, which means that for a lot of practicing writers it’s time to start thinking ahead–to summer writing conferences.

Sometimes it can be hard to cut through the marketing copy and get a sense of what a given conference experience might really be like. That’s why I’m especially impressed by one recent discovery, concerning Summer Fishtrap (its hosting organization, Fishtrap, Inc., is dedicated to “promoting clear thinking and good writing in and about the [American] West”).

Rather than simply broadcasting testimonials from previous conferencegoers or praising itself to the skies, Summer Fishtrap has posted a letter responding to its 2007 conferees’ evaluations. Check it out.

I like a conference (or any writing organization/program) that admits to what may not have worked so well and talks about how it might improve even as it touts its strengths. I think this letter gives prospective participants a good glimpse into what they might expect–from meals to readings–should they attend.

(Look for a reference to Summer Fishtrap’s Fellowship program in our next newsletter–to be e-mailed to subscribers tomorrow!)