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Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Sanibel Island Writers Conference
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Tom DeMarchi, Director
Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Reed Hall 242
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565



When Jim Brock, poet extraordinaire and conference brainchild, stopped me in the hall in fall 2005 and said, "Let's form a committee to start an annual writers conference on Sanibel Island," I joined on the spot because, well, it involved Jim, and it meant we had a chance of bringing some of our favorite writers to the area. Jim drafted the initial proposal and budget, and enlisted Kimberly Campanello, Jesse Millner, Adrian Greene, Ingrid Martinez-Rico, Karen Tolchin, Jim Robison, Mary Ferarro, Jane Meek, and Lori Cornelius to lend their wisdom and talent to the cause. We dubbed ourselves the Florida Gulf Coast University Sanibel Writers Committee, made a list of the writers we'd like to invite, and somehow managed to be productive, focused and agreeable. You would not be reading these words were it not for the committee members' individual commitment and collective effort. Thanks to them all for pitching in and making a molehill out of a mountain chain.

Thanks to Department of Language & Literature Chair Dr. Kimberly Jackson, former Chairs Dr. Brad Busbee and Dr. Myra Mendible, Dean Jim Wohlpart, former Dean Donna Henry, Provost Ronald Toll, Vice President Steve Magiera, former President William C. Merwin, and current President Wilson G. Bradshaw for flashing the green light and cutting the red tape. It is an understatement to say that your vision and enthusiasm, your monetary and moral support, and your acknowledgment of how important creative writing is at Florida Gulf Coast University made all this possible.

A special thanks to the eternally optimistic and encouraging former chair of the Department of Language & Literature, Dr. Joe Wisdom, a man who lives up to his name, and who exudes a serenity that lowers my pulse. Joe also owns a truck that can haul lots of refreshments.

Bottomless gratitude to Lynne Garcia—secretary, accountant, all-around MVP—who is, as my father used to say, busier than a one-armed paper hanger, yet for five years still made all the right calls, managed the database, organized all the paperwork, and reminded me what to do and when. If you ever meet Lynne, hug her.

Patricia Rice does everything I don’t do. If things run smoothly, it’s thanks to her.

Huge thanks and hoorays are due to:
FGCU's Creative Writing Club, members past & present, particularly founding officers Amy Ortolano, Andrew Schmid, Ally Wickman, and Kaleena Deland-Zepeda. High-fives to Makeda Amadi, Andrea McCrary, Michael Grissom, Courtney Spencer, and Shannon Crandall, for demonstrating initiative, intelligence, humor, and keen fashion sense;

Kevin Toler, for his initial design ideas;

Lourdes Méndez Germain, for her keen aesthetic sense and wonderful images;

Susanna Wohlpart, for her gorgeous photographs of Sanibel;

Dr. Tunde Szecsi, Dr. Lois Christensen, and Dr. Marcia Greene for their generosity and partnership;

Arlene Thompson and James Greco in The Department of Web, eLearning, and Publication Services at Florida Gulf Coast University, for designing and developing this site;

Cindy Chinelly, for her sage advice, tasty bran muffins, and organic green tea;

Lori & John Cornelius, for their generosity;

Judie Cassidy and the entire FGCU Foundation staff & Board of Directors for all their support;

Dr. Rebecca Totaro, for taking the time out of her busy schedule to offer advice and support;

BIGARTS, for the classrooms and stage;

The Sanibel Island Public Library, for the classroom space;

Dan Morgan, for the music equipment;

Win, Luc, & Dan Everham, for all those canoes;

David Sendler and the fine staff at Gulfshore Life, for all those magazines;

Arturo Hernandez, for his swanky graphic designs;

Donna Stremke and everyone in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies;

Nancy McPhee and everyone at the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau;

Alison Granucci and Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts;

David Foetisch and the whole West Wind Inn crew, for the rooms with a view of every Sanibel sunset;

Richard Georgian, Carol Defrank, Jeri Magg, and Diana Foor and the whole Gulf Coast Writers Association;

Ken Schexnayder, Dave Anderson, Tim Clark, Karen Feldman, and the office of Community Relations & Marketing;

Philip Heubeck, Lauren Baker, Pavol Roskovensky, Andrew Morris and Joseph Kakareka, for the posters;

Mary Lou Hess and the Florida Writers Association, for spreading the word;

Andrea DeMarchi, for making 150 conference tote bags in 24 hours;

William, Kathleen, and Michael DeMarchi, for the support and encouragement;

Angela Petrella, Heidi Meredith, Chris Ying and the whole McSweeney's gang, for making Believers of us all;

Karen Tolchin & Charlie DeMarchi, for inspiration.

Thanks to everyone—colleagues & friends—who offered advice, donated time & money, volunteered, and helped promote the conference, including—but certainly not limited to—Audrea Anderson, Niki Costantino, Kristen Vaughn, Glenn Miller, Sterling Watson, Kelly McCarthy, Joe Pacheco, Marta Lee, Christine Caya, Karyn Everham, Alejandro Oquendo, Joe Higgins, Julie Ann Howell, Karen Sloan, Kristin Nail, Chealsye Bowley, Edward Livesay, Dan Stanford, Dean Davis, Parker Stockman, Kimberly Lojewski, Jason Elek, Nancy Stetson, Becky Donlan, Karen Lynch, Peter Blaze Corcoran, Dewie Robinson, Rachel Wise, Rob Hiatt, Phoebe Azran, Ron Hefner, Susan Holland, Robert and Tracy Jones, Tristan Dufresne, Martha Rosenthal, Debbie Lewis, Sasha Wohlpart, Susan Haley, Mary Walch, Bud & Lee Willis, Phil Carter, John Bond, Tanya Hochschild, Kevin & Elena Aho, Linda DiGloria, Linda Rowland, Sheila Bolduc-Simpson, Valerie Donovan, Britta Schulze, Mary & Sam Walch, Hillary Kaufman, Maria Roca, Jonathan Rose & Laura McDermott (of the excellent Palm Beach Poetry Festival), Emma Trelles, Amy Towne, Andrew Foley and everyone at Sarasota News & Books, Don Selby & Diane Boller at Poetry Daily, the folks at, everyone at BIG ARTS, Hollie at the Sanibel Island Bookshop, Theresa Acker, Andrea and the whole staff at Follett, Amy Tardif, Conan Griffin & Julie Hoffman, Cathy Chestnut, Linda Campbell, Phil Thompson, and all the people who told their friends, announced it in their classes, hung up flyers, and forwarded e-mails. If you helped in any way and I neglected to list your name, give me a nuggie next time we cross paths.

And finally to authors/workshop leaders/editors/agents past and present—Erin Almond, Steve Almond, Jonathan Ames, MK Asante, Julianna Baggott, Lynne Barrett, Jordan Bass, Ishmael Beah, Dan Bern, Jill Bialosky, Richard Blanco, Lisa Borders, John Brandon, Eve Bridburg, Stanley Brinks, Jim Brock, Derrick C. Brown, Nickole Brown, Christine Buckley, Don Bullens, Augusten Burroughs, Robert Olen Butler, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Kevin Canty, Nick Carbo, Margaret Cardillo, Ron Carlson, Christopher Castellani, Tom Chiarella, Kevin Clark, Brock Clarke, Camille Cline, Ron Currie Jr., John Darnielle, Dean Davis, Elizabeth Dewberry, Larry Doyle, Andre Dubus III, John Dufresne, Denise Duhamel, Camille Dungy, Carmen Edington, Janice Eidus, Patricia Engel, Beth Ann Fennelly, Craig Finn, Emily Franklin, Tom Franklin, Lisa Gallagher, Roxane Gay, Robert Gelinas, William Giraldi, Taylor Goldsmith, William Greenway, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Barbara Hamby, Artis Henderson, Sue Henshon, Kristin Hersh, Michael Hettich, Carl Hiaasen, John Hoppenthaler, Karl Iagnemma, Kristen Iversen, Christopher Joyce, Heidi Julavits, David Kirby, Walter Kirn, Dorianne Laux, Jeanne Leiby, Gary Louris, Mary Beth Lundgren, Molly Lyons, Nick Marino, Campbell McGrath, Ron MacLean, Jen McClung, Karen McElmurray, John McNally, Joe Meno, Kathryn Miles, Joseph Millar, Jesse Millner, Lyn Millner, CD Mitchell, Debra Monroe, Dito Montiel, Dinty Moore, Keith Lee Morris, Leonard Nash, Sena Jeter Naslund, Jeff Newberry, Tim O’Brien, Robert Olmstead, Susan Orlean, Jeff Parker, Tim Parrish, Benjamin Percy, Christopher Phillips, David James Poissant, Neal Pollack, Bobbie Pyron, Margo Rabb, Nahid Rachlin, Deborah Reed, Henry Rollins, Nina Romano, Kathleen Rooney, Robert Root, Richard Russo, John K. Samson, John Sayles, Julia Scheeres, Christopher Schelling, Danielle Sellers, Jennifer Senior, Abby Sher, George Singleton, Lauren Small, Christine Sneed, Laurel Snyder, Wesley Stace, Michael Steinberg, JL Stermer, Megan Stielstra, Parker Stockman, Darin Strauss, Cheryl Strayed, Johnny Temple, Jeffrey Thompson, Karen Tolchin, Martin Tolchin, Susan Tolchin, Emma Trelles, Laura Valeri, Ian Vasquez, Judith Viorst, Willy Vlautin, Sidney Wade, Dan Wakefield, Alexis Washam, Jay Wexler, Liza Wieland, Robert Wilder, Tom Williams, and Tom Zoellner—for writing and publishing so many words worth reading.

Thanks thanks thanks,

Tom DeMarchi, Director
April 2014