Final speaker list announced for Canyon Crest Academy Writers’ Conference in Carmel Valley


Canyon Crest Academy’s Creative Writing Club recently announced the final speaker list for the 5th Annual Canyon Crest Academy Writers’ Conference. Best-selling authors and many other writing professionals will provide inspirational and educational workshops to students of San Diego area high schools. The event will be held from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Canyon Crest Academy.

Because of the generosity of Gold Sponsors Chipotle and Summa Education, Silver Sponsors Hamilton College Consulting and Wells Fargo, and Conference Sponsor High Bluff Academy, as well as extensive fundraising by the Creative Writing Club, this event is free to high school students. This is the only free writing conference for high school students in the country.

Corporate sponsorship opportunities are still available. See the website for more information.

Speakers are in turn inspired by their student attendees, returning year after year to share their writing expertise. This year, T. Greenwood, Courtney Kilian and Laura Preble will be honored for speaking at all five conferences.

As return speaker Greg Van Eekhout noted, “San Diego is going to have more than its fair share of published authors because of this conference.”

New York Times bestselling author of The Program series Suzanne Young will present the keynote address: My Friends Are All Fictional --The Journey from Teen Writer to Bestselling Author. Suzanne is the author of The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy, The Epidemic, Hotel Ruby, and All in Pieces.

The conference will also feature an afternoon inspirational speaker, the Emmy-nominated writer, director, and performer Anthony King. He co-wrote the Off-Broadway show, “Gutenberg, The Musical!” , which also enjoyed a run Off-West End in London and is now being performed all over the world. King has developed television shows for CBS, HBO, A&E & AMC and has written for shows such as Broad City (Comedy Central), Playing House (USA), Wet Hot American Summer (Netflix), Best Friends Forever (NBC) and more.

This year’s speakers include:

•Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling novelist, five-time Bram Stoker Award winner, and comic book writer. He writes the Joe Ledger thrillers, the Rot & Ruin series, the Nightsiders series, the Dead of Night series, as well as standalone novels in multiple genres. His books Extinction Machine and V-Wars are in development for TV, and Rot & Ruin is in development as a series of feature films. He will participate in the horror panel: Things That Go Bump in the Night and present: Thrills and Chills: Horror and Cross Genre Thrillers.

•Nancy Holder is the NYT bestselling dark fantasy and horror author of more than 80 novels and 200 short stories, essays, and articles; winner of 5 Bram Stoker awards and many other honors; comic book writer and editor; and author of episode guide books, original novels, and novelizations for TV shows and movies such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teen Wolf, Beauty and the Beast, and the new Ghostbusters movie. She will participate in the horror panel: Things That Go Bump in the Night.

•Ryan Bradford, author of the novel Horror Business, as well as the founder and editor of Black Candies, a journal of literary darkness, and a columnist for San Diego CityBeat,

will participate in the horror panel: Things That Go Bump in the Night.

•Kiersten White, NYT bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; and Illusions of Fate. She will present: Plot Like a Villain.

•Susan Dennard, NYT bestselling author of Truthwitch, Something Strange and Deadly, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, and Strange and Ever After, will present: How I Write a Novel: From Idea to Completed Book.

•Kendall Sherwood, LA-based playwright/screenwriter who is currently staffed on “Major Crimes,” a spin-off of TNT’s hit crime series “The Closer.” She will present: Writing for TV.

•Lee Coulter, a singer/songwriter whose soulful performance and memorable songwriting have landed him opening spots for music legends Tom Jones and Chuck Berry, critic favorites Martin Sexton and Griffin House and had Sirius XM’s Coffee House channel dub him “the discovery of year” in 2011 for his debut album. He will present: Songwriting: From No Rules to Formulas.

•Greg Van Eekhout, author is the author of six published novels including Dragon Coast, last in the Daniel Blackland Trilogy, will present: Character Building.

•T. Greenwood, popular writing teacher and award winning author of ten novels including Two Rivers, Grace, Bodies of Water and Where I Lost her, will present: Whose Story is This: Point of View and Narrative Voice.

•Courtney Kilian received her MFA from UCSD and her work appears in the anthologies, California Prose Directory: New Writing From the Golden State and Ancestors, Place, and Memory… Our Stories Will Never Die.

She will present: Creating Impact with Sensory Detail.

•Natalie M. Lakosil, honors graduate of the University of San Diego with a B.A. in Literature/Writing, and literary agent with the Bradford Agency, will present: Getting Published: Query Letters and Agents.

•Jenny Lane, a playwright and novelist who holds an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University. Her plays have been developed and produced nationally. She will present: Introduction to Playwriting.

•James Matlack Raney, author of the Jim Morgan series, including Jim Morgan and the

Pirates of the Black Skull, which was a 2013 IndieFab Book of the Year Finalist. He will present: Fast and Furious – Writing Great Action Scenes.

•Laura Preble, award winning teacher and author of the young adult series, Queen Geek Social Club, and Out. She will present: Starting in the Middle.

•Viet Mai, Educator, Artist and Consultant who works to enhance the lives of others through community engagement and youth empowerment. As a member of the 2013 ELEVATED! Slam Team, he represented San Diego to rank 4th place at the National Poetry Slam in Boston, MA. He will present: How to Be a Poet: Spoken Word Poetry.

•Christopher Hamilton, founder of Hamilton College Consulting, which has helped literally hundreds of students gain access to Ivy-level universities, and thousands find a path to colleges of all descriptions, will present: College Essay Death Sentences.

•Sylvia Mendoza, multi-award-winning journalist and author of The Book of Latina Women: 150 Vidas (Lives) of Passion, Strength and Success. She will present: Do You Have What It Takes to be a Journalist?

•Matthew Wolf, bestselling author of YA epic fantasy novel The Knife’s Edge, book one of The Ronin Saga, will present: Grand World Building in Fantasy.

•Allan Retzky, author of the Amazon bestselling mystery, Vanished in the Dunes, will present: Beginning the Novel.

The conference will take place in the Proscenium Theater and Media Center, Canyon Crest Academy, 5951 Village Center Loop Road, San Diego, CA 92130.

Student attendees receive a program, paper, pen, workshop handouts and even a free lunch by Chipotle. Pre-registration is required.

High school students can” Learn more about the conference and pre-register at Preregistration is required.