The International
Women's Writing Guild

Niagara Creative Writing Conference

  • Saturday, October 07, 2017
  • 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • The Writing Center & Studios at Space to Create, 310 East Tenth Street, Erie, PA 16503


  • includes $55 annual membership for first-time members
  • Must show Student ID

Registration is closed

Niagara Creative Writing Conference

Saturday, October 7, 2017 

The Writing Center & Studios at Space to Create

310 East Tenth Street, Erie, PA 16503

(use the parking-lot entrance)


The Flagship City Creative Writing and Poetry Conference returns in its second year, as the Niagara Creative Writing Conference

Morning and afternoon workshops (appropriate for all skill levels of women age 18 and older) will give you the instruction and intensive writing time you crave, our book fair will give Guild members the opportunity to sell books and related materials, and our All Voices Open Mic will give you the chance to have your voice heard in a warm and supportive environment.

Click for downloadable conference flyer


8:00-8:30 AM:  Registration with coffee & tea bar

8:30-8:45 AM:  Welcome & Keynote by Erie County Poet Laureate Marisa Moks-Unger

9:00-10:30 AM:  The Story of Your Life with Mary Beth Coudal

10:45 AM-12:15 PM The Narrative Arc in Fiction with Cathleen O'Connor

12:15-1:00 PM Luncheon catered by Chef Lisa of Dinner Is Served & Member Book Sale*

1:15-2:45 PM:  Standing Up & Speaking Out: Writing the Op Ed  with Marsha McGregor

3:00-4:00 PM:  All Voices Open-Mic Reading*

4:00-5:00 PM:  Wine & Cheese Reception

5:00 PM:  Closing Remarks

*Guild members are invited to participate in a book fair to be held during lunchtime. All attendees will have the opportunity to share your writing (3 min. max.) at the open-mic reading. 

Keynote Speaker

Marisa Moks-Unger, Poet Laureate of Erie County, PA, is the author of a poetry chapbook, Mud and Stars (Nightballet Press, 2015). She is a former secondary English teacher in the City of Erie School District, and currently the owner of an internet startup called We Write It Right, a full-service writing and editing company. Marisa organized last year’s Flagship City Creative Writing and Poetry Conference to serve local women writers, and 100 Thousand Poets for Change to enable others to give voice to social justice issues.

Instructor Bios & Workshop Descriptions

Mary Beth Coudal  Memoir

The Story of Your Life  

Find the moments of your life story when you turned one way and not another—the small quiet moments and the big public events. Look at and write about the stories from your life journey. This fun and creative writing workshop inspires you with writing prompts, drama games, and experiential exercises to remind you of who are and where you’ve been. Experienced, occasional, and beginning memoirists are invited to write, read, play, learn, chat, laugh, cry, and share. 

Mary Beth Coudal is an award-winning journalist, blogger, and copywriter. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times,, and Self magazine. At the blog To Pursue Happiness at, she asks the big questions. For fun, she is a teacher and an actress.

Cathleen O’Connor – Fiction

The Narrative Arc in Fiction

If you think the word “arc” implies a nice balanced curve, think again! In fiction, the narrative arc is made up of the scenes and episodes in your story that keep the tension building and the reader glued to your book. It is the framework on which you build your story. In this workshop, we will explore four key components of the narrative arc that are vital to get you to that satisfying ending that every reader wants. We’ll use an example to illustrate the narrative arc, and then youll get to test the narrative arcs of your own fiction projects. Time for writing and discussion will be provided.

Cathleen O’Connor, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and intuitive coach who works with other writers. She is currently at work on a screenplay and romance fiction and is co-editor of The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory, a special project focused on keeping the love of reading alive for those with short-term memory loss. She is the author of 365 Days of Angel Prayers and The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary (Adams Media, 2010). Cathleen has been quoted in The Huffington Post and featured as an expert work-life balance source in various publications, including the Canadian magazine Alive. 

Marsha McGregor  Nonfiction

Standing Up & Speaking Out: Writing the Op Ed

Expressing our opinions on the topics we are most passionate about requires not only compelling writing but a solid framework upon which to build a persuasive message. Well explore some of the tools you can use to articulate your personal convictions in a public forum.

Marsha McGregors literary nonfiction has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Kenyon Review Online, Brain Child, Brain Teen, Fourth Genre, Ascent, Literary Mama, and four anthologies. Her personal essays appear frequently in Cleveland Magazine. A Peter Taylor Fellow for the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, and a fellow for the Kenyon Review Writing Workshop for Teachers, she leads writing workshops for small groups, library systems, and literary organizations, specializing in personal essay and memoir writing. She is a certified Lifetime Arts Teaching Artist. A selection of her work can be found at

Cancellation Policy: Full refund minus $25 admin fee through September 22. No refund starting September 23.