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This is a guest post from our friend Donna Talarico.

They say everyone has a story in them. That’s why the world of creative nonfiction is so exciting: nearly everyone has story-worthy material. Maybe you haven’t heard the term “creative nonfiction” used, but think essays, memoir, literary journalism. Think true stories that are told in an entertaining way. Not factual information told in an academic way, but in a fashion that includes setting, scene, dialogue and all those sensory details that make fiction so enjoyable.

That’s the kind of writing that we’re celebrating at HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers happening Aug. 7-9 at the Lancaster County Convention Center. Why the playful name, you ask? The conference is produced by the online, monthly magazine I founded in 2010, called Hippocampus Magazine. Since so many true stories are rooted in memory, I named the publication after the part of the brain where memories are formed: the hippocampus. While I live in Lancaster, our magazine is not a local publication—we publish emerging and established writers from around the globe. Our conference also is attracting about 125 writers from all parts of the country, Canada and overseas (one at last count).

This conference, designed for writers of any skill level (even those who have yet to put pen to page), is full of classroom-style sessions on the craft of writing and marketing, panel discussions, literary readings, optional hands-on workshops and social activities. Keynotes are from Lee Gutkind, founder of Creative Nonfiction magazine, and Jane Friedman, a digital media expert and former publisher of Writer’s Digest. The full list of speakers and sessions can be found at our conference website, and you’ll find it includes several folks from south-central PA, including: Jennifer Hill, Lori M. Myers, Jesse Waters, Jim Breslin (of Lancaster Story Slam), Matt Skillen, Carol Cool, Gale Martin and Curtis Smith.

It’s not too late to register for this three-day literary event; tickets will be available through the day of the conference. Registration includes access to all conference events, an opening reception (including a drink ticket), breakfast Saturday and Sunday, lunch Saturday, and beverages and snacks throughout the day.

If you’re just finding out about the conference now in the remaining week or so and don’t have time to rearrange any existing plans, you have a few options that will allow you to experience parts of the conference:

  • Saturday Pre-Conference Workshop – $49 – choose from “Self Edit Like a Pro” and “Your Body Has a Voice: Useful Movement for Writers.”
  • Saturday-Only Conference Pass – $249 – includes all activities listed for Saturday.
  • Sunday-Only Conference Pass – $119 – includes all activities listed for Sunday, excluding post-conference query workshop.
  • An Evening with Lee Gutkind (Saturday at 7:15 p.m.) – $40 + $3 ticket processing fee, includes Q&A and book-signing. (A limited quantity of books will be available.) An open mic night with cash bar follows the keynote.

Register online at conference.hippocampusmagazine.com. Email questions to info@hippocampusmagazine.com.

Lancaster is alive with creativity, and writers are very much a part of this. I’m relatively new to the region, and I couldn’t think of a better place to bring Hippocampus Magazine offline and into the real world. I encourage you to check out our magazine and view our current and archived issues, and, if you’re a writer, to consider submitting your work for consideration.

Happy writing and reading.


Donna Talarico is an independent creative professional and the founder/publisher of Hippocampus Magazine. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and an MBA from Elizabethtown College. From 2010 to 2015 was the director of integrated communications at Elizabethtown College, a small, selective liberal arts school in south-central, Pa. Prior to working in higher education, Donna had careers in eCommerce and radio. Also, for 11 years, until she relocated, she was a correspondent for a daily paper and alternative weekly in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. area. She also has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Wilkes. She is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Lancaster. Donna lives in downtown Lancaster, Pa. with her husband, Kevin Beerman.