Canyon Crest Academy’s Creative Writing Club announces 10th Annual CCA Writers’ Conference keynote speakers

Poster
(Courtesy)

Canyon Crest Academy’s Creative Writing Club recently announced two keynotes for the 10th Annual CCA Writers’ Conference. It will be held online over four days — Feb. 20-21, and March 6-7, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. This event is the only free writing conference for middle school and high school students in the country. Registration is now open.

Bestselling young adult author Gretchen McNeil will present the first keynote address on Saturday, Feb. 20. McNeil is the author of several young adult novels for Balzer + Bray including Possess, 3:59, Relic, I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Get Even, Get Dirty, and Ten, as well as the horror/comedy novels #MurderTrending, #MurderFunding, and #NoEscape for Disney/Freeform. Her next novel Dig Two Graves, pitched as a YA Strangers on a Train, hits shelves in March 2022.

Author Gretchen McNeil
Author Gretchen McNeil
(Courtesy)

Ten: Murder Island, the film adaptation of Ten starring China Anne McClain premiered on Lifetime in 2017, and Get Even and Get Dirty have been adapted as the series Get Even for BBC and Netflix. Series 1 premiered in 2020.

Author Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Author Benjamin Alire Sáenz
(Courtesy)

The second keynote on Sunday, Feb. 21 will be presented by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, a poet, writer of fiction (young adult and adult) and children’s books. His work has won him wide acclaim and an international audience. He has authored 10 novels and two collections of short stories, the latest of which — Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club — won a Lambda Literary Award and the PEN Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2013 (the first Latino to have won the award). He has published seven books of poetry, and has been awarded a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, an American Book Award, and a Lannan Poetry Fellowship. His acclaimed young adult novel, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simon & Schuster), has been translated into 24 languages and was awarded The Stonewall Award, The Pura Belpre Award, a Prinz Honor Book Award, a Lambda Literary Award, the Prix des Incorruptibles (France, 2017) and the Catalan Book Seller’s Award (Spain, 2020).

Sophie Camilleri, president of the CCA Creative Writing Club, says, “I am so excited for the first two keynotes that we are announcing today. Gretchen McNeil is an incredible thriller author — her #murdertrending series is creepy, eerie and absolutely suspenseful. Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s is a master of character development as seen in ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’ and his writing is moving and full of passion. It’s such an honor to have such talented, award-winning authors speak at the conference.”

The club is honored to have the financial support of it sponsors including: Hamilton Education, UC San Diego Extension Writing, San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, San Diego Book Awards Association, the CCA Foundation, and Jimbo’s Naturally!.

In order to continue to provide this free experience to middle school and high school students, the CCA Creative Writing Club is looking for individual and corporate sponsors. Individuals can “Sponsor a Student” for as little as $25, or become a Gold Sponsor for more. Sponsors can email ccawritersconference@gmail.com for more information on how to contribute.

Students interested in the conference should follow @ccawritersconf on Twitter, ccacreativewriting on Instagram, or CCA Writers Conference on Facebook. Registration is now open at ccawritersconference2021.weebly.com

The Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore will sell speakers’ books through a special website for attendees. They have been long-time supporters of the conference.


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