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Thursday, September 21, 2023


Boldface offers intimate environment for developing writers

The Boldface Conference, which is being held this week at the Honors College, offers young writers the opportunity to receive tips for overcoming writer’s block and interact with published authors. | Conny Ramirez/The Daily Cougar

With a slew of workshops such as, “Where the Hell are We? Using Setting to Your Advantage,” the oddly-named sessions are just the kind of guidance Boldface Conference attendees are searching for to help them strengthen their craft.

Boldface, which is sponsored by UH’s undergraduate literary journal Glass Mountain, is being held in the UH Honors College this week. It was the most attended Boldface Conference to date, attracting more than 100 participants from around the nation.

“I think it’s because we target this particular audience of emerging writers. I only know of one other conference in the nation that targets emerging writers in the way that we do. There’s a lot of conferences that target professional writers, and they charge a whole lot more money than we charge,” said associate English professor and faculty adviser for Glass Mountain Lynn Voskuil. “But we really try to cultivate writers who are either undergraduate or emerging in other ways.”

Attendees submit manuscripts of their work in advance to receive individualized discussion and critiques during the conference in the format of workshops. They are paired in groups with about eight other participants, which is led by one of the creative writing program graduates.

This kind of intimate setting is what sets Boldface apart from other writing conferences that often host more than 10,000 people. There are two different workshops for each of the four days. Each student receives about 90 minutes of constructive criticism devoted to their writing, while also learning valuable information about making it in the literary world. Attendees are able to meet with professional writers, including alumni of the UH Creative Writing program, who relay their own personal experience.

“Ultimately, I got something that other people were going through the same thing I was. As far as not being able to really bring a piece to a close, having issues with publishing and things like that, and it was just good to know that there were other people in my situation,” Glass Mountain co-editor Shaina Fraziersaid. “And they were there to be supportive and you help each other through that.”

Boldface has created a welcoming community by offering Master Classes, covering various topics that range from overcoming writer’s block to the steps needed to get your work noticed and published. It’s these kinds of literary obstacles Boldface aims to help its attendees overcome.

“I think we as writers generally tend to be more withdrawn, and there’s a lot of introverts within the writing community,” Glass Mountain co-editor Rebecca Canak said. “Being here kind of exposes them to the whole community and lets them meet other people and writers who have similar interests.”

The Boldface Conference ends May 23.

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