Writers conference founders receive Superheroes award

Brad. R. Cook and David A. Lucas receive St. Louis Writers Guild’s Superheroes award

Last weekend, St. Louis Writers Guild’s Board presented Brad R. Cook, event chairman, and David A. Lucas, President, with the new Superheroes award, in recognition of their audacity, leadership and success in creating a new event on the St. Louis literary calendar.  The presentation occurred at a gathering of the board and key volunteers a week after the Gateway to Publishing Writers Conference and Book Fair, or Gateway Con, held June 16, 17 and 18, 2017 at the Marriott Renaissance Airport Hotel.

As it happens, this writer won the Grand Prize, free admission to next year’s Gateway to Publishing Conference, in the on-site raffle. As a Board Member, I want to support the event by paying for my own admission, so I am, in turn, raffling off my prize to present website- newsletter subscribers and to anyone who signs up for the website and newsletter by 11:59 AM, August 1, 2017. For lots of useful book news, special benefits and a chance to win this inside look at the writing and publishing scene, sign up TODAY! (in the box provided in the sidebar–> )

In accepting the award, Lucas noted the essential participation of dozens of volunteers who staffed and hosted an assemblage of one hundred writers, literary agents, publishers and journalists for presentations, craft workshops and pitch sessions between writers and potential agents and publishers at the Renaissance Airport Marriott hotel.  Cook noted that this event achieved deeper collaboration among the principal writing and publishing organizations in the metro area. Kathleen Ortiz, of New Leaf Literary Agency reflected the sentiment among the four literary agents present and four others who interviewed writers by a remote video connection that “agents love to come to St. Louis,” because of the talent, innovation and variety of creative offerings they find here.

Collaborating groups included St. Louis Writers Guild, now in its 97th year; Missouri Writers Guild; Missouri Chapter of the Romance Writers of America; St. Louis Publishers Association; the Greater St. Louis Chapter, Sisters in Crime, and the St. Louis Press Club. Cook emphasized a major goal of the new conference: to “fix a literary scene in Missouri which is broken”—due to too much fragmentation—and to unify and combine efforts of all to promote writing and reading region-wide.

The conference also featured a free public book fair, affording opportunities to hear York Times best-selling authors Angie Fox, Eileen Dreyer and Ann Leckie, and featured authors, including Cynthia Graham, Claire Applewhite, Ronald “Reggie” Van Stockum, Claudia Shelton, Nicole Evelina and Peter Green as they met their readers, discuss and sign their books. St. Louis sports videographer and film producer Tony West also presented his documentary, “The Safe Side of the Fence,” about nuclear contamination from World War II arms production in communities nationwide.

Gateway to Publishing, subtitled, Writers at the Rivers, is the first of five annual events planned by St. Louis Writers Guild. Next year’s Writers Conference and Book Fair is scheduled for June 15, 16 and 17, and is planned to grow as word spreads about its value to writers and readers alike.

St. Louis Writers Guild, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1920 by a group of writers including screenwriter Sam Hellman and Eleanor Maxwell McCord, has grown to be one of the nation’s premier literary organizations. The Guild, averaging 300 members, today includes distinguished local published authors, journalists, freelancers and beginners interested in improving their skills and meeting fellow writers. Tennessee Williams won the Guild’s Short Story Contest in 1935 with “Stella for Star,” and the continuing competition draws entrants from across the nation and several foreign countries every year. More information can be found at the group’s website: www.stlwritersguild.org .

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