The Magic Continues for The Writers Hotel
The Writers Hotel marked its 6-year anniversary this year, hosting the largest group yet. More than 80 writers convened in Midtown, New York City, eager to read and eager to write. On the first night at Kinokuniya Bookstore, hearing the faculty read, I kept thinking over and over: It was so good to be back.
I attended in 2017, and it was transcendent for me, astounding in its magic. Being in Shanna McNair’s workshop became the best workshop experience of my life, and I’d been to other writing conferences and held an MFA. Being in Shanna’s workshop, I felt not only that I was seen but that my work was seen. My fellow workshoppers didn’t press what they felt the work should be, but instead saw where I wanted the work to go. They helped me get there. I felt nurtured; My work felt nurtured. To this day, we still stay in touch. They’ve brought me back when I felt low about my writing. From all over the world, they nurture me. They are my family, all of them.
This year had its own sparkling, crackling magic. It was an absolute honor to TA for Elizabeth Hand, who brought us close and held us together. This workshop group was deeply imaginative, warm, and so freaking talented. A different magic from 2017, but magic all the same. We were expansive, from all walks of life. From ages 30 to 70, hailing from Edinburgh, Portugal, Ireland, Hawaii, Chicago, the list goes on. We talked excitedly over each piece, as if each of our books were already out in the world, eager and hungry at its potential. My piece was blown wide open, and the day after the conference ended, I went back to the story, writing and editing more than 2,000 words. Fevered writing, and that is often the best kind. One of my fellow workshoppers dubbed us the Kindly Oval as opposed to the Viscious Circle that met in the Algonquin Hotel (where we workshopped) many years ago. It is an apt name. It is a perfect name. We’ve already written dozens of emails to each other. We plan to meet again soon. They, too, have become my family.
The Writers Hotel is one of the younger writing conferences out there, but it has already left a lasting imprint on hundreds of lives, launching writing careers and placing others at the ready for success. The directors, Shanna McNair and Scott Wolven, are writers themselves. They are dreamers, warriors, and protectors of the craft. They see all the work, they see all the writers, and in turn urge them all onward. Pure authenticity: That is what The Writers Hotel is.
And so the magic goes on...
Lyndsie Manusos' (Fiction) fiction has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Apex Magazine, PANK, A Cappella Zoo and other notable publications. Her work of flash fiction, "Clean Team" won 2017 Write to Publish Contest by Ooligan Press in partnership with The Masters Review. She was a shortlist finalist for the 2014 Ploughshares Emerging Writers contest and a finalist in the 2017 River Styx Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction contest. Lyndsie holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her present work in progress is a collection short stories titled Encyclopedia of the Unexplained. Lyndsie lives and works in Chicago and serves as web producer for The Poetry Foundation.