2018 Conference Recap

I can’t believe it’s already been over a week since the inaugural Chapter Twenty-One Conference! We had so much fun putting on the conference and hope our speakers and attendees enjoyed it as well.

We kicked off the weekend with a cocktail hour at the low-key hotel bar. For some inexplicable reason, the conversation kept turning to cannibalism (something I’ve noticed happens frequently when you put writers together). However, no worries: no humans were actually harmed in the making of our bloody-looking drinks.img_8388.jpeg



Saturday morning, the conference started bright and early with our first workshop: “Stories, In Short…” by Ch21Con’s very own Allison Mulder, who is an acclaimed short fiction author, as well as a conference team member. She taught the attendees all the ins and outs of getting short fiction published, and her session was chock-full with all the dark humor (and puns) we’ve come to love and expect from Allison.


Next up was our first panel of the day: “Young, Scrappy, and Hungry: A Panel of Young Publishing Professionals.” We decided to keep this panel small this year, so it was just me (conference director Julia Byers) and Christine Lynn Herman. I work days as an assistant for a children’s literary agency, while Christine just finished a day job as an assistant for a sci-fi/fantasy literary agent, so we talked about what authors need to know about agencies, how to break into publishing, and more.

Unfortunately, due to a storm ravaging the East Coast, Christine and another of our speakers (Amanda Foody) were unable to fly to Chicago for the conference. However, we aren’t easy to defeat, so we did live-streams to bring them into the conference room whenever they had a workshop or panel.

(Due to the weirdness of having one speaker doing the panel in person and another up on the projector, though, we got no decent photos from the young publishing panel. Sorry!) (We will all just have to remember it in our hearts.)

After the young publishing panel, we shifted gears over to our keynote address: “Finding Your Voice.” Incredible young adult author Gloria Chao (American Panda) was our keynote speaker this year. She spoke about her journey to publication and the importance of including yourself in the stories you tell. She told attendees about how she was initially nervous to weave her culture and personal experiences into her writing, but she’s so glad she did, because these are the things that have come to mean so much to her young readers.

(Not gonna lie: I teared up during her speech. And I know I wasn’t the only one.)


After the keynote address, we took a break for lunch. This year, we hosted a pizza party, featuring Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The group I sat with spent lunch discussing criticism of Star Wars, Hogwarts houses, and (yes) cannibalism. (Seriously, what is with writers and their fascination with eating people?) (New theory: writers are zombies.)



After lunch, we returned to doing live-streams so Amanda Foody (Ace of Shades) and Christine Lynn Herman (The Devouring Gray, spring 2018) could run their joint writing workshop. Their topic was “Exploring Multi-POV Narratives,” and they discussed all the different factors that go into writing a single story from multiple perspectives. Everyone was in love with Amanda’s spreadsheets for outlining (and the photos of Ron Weasley included on every Prezi slide) by the end of their session.


We closed out our workshops for the day with one titled “‘If I were Invisible’: The Advantages of the Unknown,” led by beloved middle grade author Karuna Riazi (The Gauntlet). Karuna previously spoke at Ch1Con back in 2015 and we’ve been trying to bring her back to speak again for a couple years, so we were particularly excited for her session. And she did not disappoint. Karuna discussed the expectations versus realities of publishing, and how to hold onto your dreams and your love of writing in the face of outside pressures. (Once again: tears.)


We ended the conference with the annual “Ask Anything Panel,” which we shared with our organization’s younger conference, the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con). Despite a bevy of technical difficulties, we eventually managed to live-stream it to our organization’s YouTube channel. So, if you’d like to watch all of our 2018 speakers discuss everything from Serious and Helpful Publishing Advice to, like, their favorite writing tropes, you can do so below!

After the conference, we of course took a group photo.


Then we hosted an informal book signing for the attendees.



And finally, after a long, eventful, and very fun day, the exhausted (but very, very happy) team cleaned up our conference room, then headed upstairs to sprawl in our pajamas, watch 10 Things I Hate About You, and eat leftover pizza. There was also maybe some champagne.

(Okay, okay, it was sparkling grape juice. After all, we shared our post-conference hangout with the Ch1Con team, who we love more than alcohol.)

(But we did have champagne-flavored gummy bears.)

Thank you to everyone who attended, spoke at, or supported the inaugural Chapter Twenty-One Conference this year. We absolutely loved putting it on and can’t wait for next year. See you in 2019!

— Julia and the Ch21Con Team

P.S. Want even more conference photos? You can view them here!

2018 Ask Anything Panel

Hey there, everyone!

Can’t make it to one of our 2018 conferences? Not to worry! As in previous years, we’re excited to be able to live-stream the “Ask Anything” panel with our 2018 speakers, so all of you amazing young writers who can’t make it to Ch1Con and Ch21Con 2018 still get to participate in something.

This year, the participating speakers will be:

  • Gloria Chao (American Panda)
  • Amanda Foody (Ace of Shades)
  • Christine Lynn Herman (The Devouring Gray)
  • Allison Mulder (acclaimed short fiction author)
  • Karuna Riazi (The Gauntlet)

The panel moderators will be Emma Rose Ryan (Ch1Con director) and Julia Byers (Ch21Con director).

The Ask Anything panel will take place during the conferences on Saturday, August 4th from 4:00 to 5:00 PM CDT (5:00 to 6:00 PM EDT).

This is totally free and you don’t need to sign up for anything; it’s simply our gift to you to thank you for all of your support throughout the year. You can find the live-stream on our organization’s YouTube channel at:


Or, we’re conveniently embedding the video in the post below:

We’ll be asking the panelists a mixture of questions from both the attendees at the two conferences and those of you watching from home. The questions can be about absolutely anything you want, serious or goofy, writing-related or not. (For example, in 2014 we asked our speakers about their OTPs. One replied that she shipped herself and Panera.)

If you’ll be watching the live-stream and would like to ask the speakers a question, there are two ways you can go about doing it:

1.) If you already know what you’d like to ask, you can email your question(s) to us at chapter21conference@gmail.com any time until the day of the conference.

2.) If you come up with a question while you’re watching the live-stream, you can tweet it using #Ch1Con or #Ch21Con.

Either way, feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like. No promises we’ll make it through every single question during the hour-long panel, but we’ll do our best.

Thanks again for supporting us, guys! It means the world to everyone on the Chapter One Events team.

See you at 4:00 PM central/5:00 PM eastern!

– The Chapter One Events team

2018 Keynote Speaker: Gloria Chao

The Chapter One Events team is absolutely thrilled to announce our keynote speaker for the 2018 Chapter One Young Writers Conference and inaugural Chapter Twenty-One Conference: Gloria Chao!

Gloria ChaoGloria Chao is an MIT graduate turned dentist turned writer. She currently lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband for whom she became a nine-hole golfer (sometimes seven). She is always up for Dance Dance Revolution, cooperative board games, or spontaneous dance parties. She was also once a black belt in kung-fu and a competitive dancer, but that side of her was drilled and suctioned out. Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at GloriaChao.Wordpress.com.

Gloria is the acclaimed author of young adult contemporary novel American Panda and the upcoming Misaligned.

Gloria will be giving the keynote address at both Ch1Con and Ch21Con, as well as speaking on the conferences’ combined ask anything panel.

Find Gloria Online:

Check out Gloria’s Books:

all speakers.png

Haven’t registered to attend one of our 2018 conferences yet? You can do so by clicking the following links:

Chapter One Young Writers Conference (ages 11-20)

Chapter Twenty-One Conference (ages 21-29)

– The Ch1Events Team

P.S. Our full conference lineup and session descriptions are now live over on our schedule page!

2018 Writing Contest Winners!

Hey, everyone!

We are thrilled today to announce the winners of our second annual Chapter One Events Poetry & Short Fiction Contest! All winning entries will appear in our 2018 contest e-book anthology, which will be available for purchase in mid-July.

You’ll note in the contest results below that we don’t necessarily award a full set of winners for each category. This is because we believe in rewarding quality over quantity, so we’ve limited our winners to only those entries we find fitting of this distinction. (Basically this means, if you won something, it’s because we really love you.)

Now, without further ado: drum roll please………

Ch1Con (Ages 11-20)

Poetry Winners
  • First Place: “Visions” by Miranda Sun
  • Second Place: “Mountain” by Emily Woods
  • Honorable Mentions: “Away with You” by Miranda Sun and “Looking Forward to Nineteen” by Emily Woods
Short Fiction Winners
  • First Place: “The Rosewyvern’s Curse” by Emily Woods
  • Second Place: “We’ve Hit an Iceberg” by Kori Johnson

Ch21Con (Ages 21-29)

Short Fiction Winner
  • First Place: “The New Corpse” by H. L. Cassel


Thank you to all who entered the contest! We really enjoyed reading your entries and we hope you’ll enter again next year. And a HUGE congratulations to our winners!! All our winners this year will receive discounted admission to the relevant conference, as well as one free copy of the 2018 contest e-book anthology–which, again, will be available for purchase in mid-July.

Now go celebrate!

–The Ch1Events Team

June Online Events

Happy summer! We’re excited to be hosting our usual two free, online events for you this month. All writers are welcome at these events, regardless of age. We can’t wait to see you at them!

Thursday, June 14th at 8:00 PM Eastern: Twitter Chat

The topic of our Twitter chat this month is writing about food. Join us using #Ch21Con to answer our questions and talk with other writers!

Saturday, June 23rd from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Eastern: Virtual Write-In

Join us to write (and procrastinate) at any point you’re available during the evening. Link to the chat room: http://us23.chatzy.com/33732490418210

– The Ch21Con Team

2018 Ch1Con & Ch21Con Blog Tour Schedule!

Hey, everybody! We’re thrilled to announce the 2018 Ch1Con & Ch21Con Blog Tour!

We put together this annual blog tour to share info and fun, behind-the-scenes facts about the Chapter One Young Writers Conference and new Chapter Twenty-One Conference (and to give away some awesome prizes, of course). The 2018 blog tour will kick off on Sunday, April 15 and conclude towards the end of May. Follow the tour for guest posts, interviews by the Chapter One Events team–and, of course, giveaways!

2018 blog tour banner.png

Check out the schedule below:
  • Sunday, April 15: www.ch1con.tumblr.com
    • New Ch1Con director Emma Rose Ryan talks about taking over as director
    • GIVEAWAY: Short fiction critique by 2018 speaker and Ch21Con team member, Allison Mulder!
  • Wednesday, April 18: www.allisonthewriter.wordpress.com
    • Allison Rose hosts a guest post by Ch21Con team member Liam Wood, about self-editing
  • Monday, April 23: www.ultimatelyuselessstories.com
    • Ch21Con team member Katelyn Pettit talks about mental health for writers
  • Friday, April 27: www.avajae.blogspot.com
    • Ava Jae hosts a guest post by Ch21Con team member Ariel Kalati, about #OwnVoices and diversity
  • Tuesday, May 1: www.robynhoode.wordpress.com
    • Ch21Con team member Katie Nichols interviews fellow team member Ariel Kalati
  • Saturday, May 5: www.kirabrighton.weebly.com
    • Kira Brighton interviews Ch21Con team member Katelyn Pettit
  • Wednesday, May 9: www.anniesullivanauthor.wordpress.com
    • Annie Sullivan hosts a guest post by Ch21Con team member Katie Nichols about writing characters with magic
    • GIVEAWAY: SIGNED hardcover copy of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!
  • Friday, May 11: www.charlottegerber.wordpress.com
    • Charlotte Gerber hosts a blog post giving an overview of the 2018 conferences
  • Monday, May 14: Joan He’s Newsletter, Looseleaf
    • Joan He talks about the 2018 conferences in her writerly newsletter. Click here to subscribe!
  • Saturday, May 19: www.juliathewritergirl.com
    • Ch21Con director Julia Byers interviews Ch1Con team member Brett Jonas and 2018 speaker and Ch21Con team member Allison Mulder
    • GIVEAWAY: $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!

We can’t wait to share the tour with you, and hope to see you in Chicago at Ch1Con and Ch21Con 2018!

– The Chapter One Events Team

2018 Workshop Leader: Amanda Foody

The Chapter One Events team is extraordinarily excited to announce our sixth speaker for the 2018 Chapter One Young Writers Conference and inaugural Chapter Twenty-One Conference: Amanda Foody!

Amanda Foody

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters in Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.

She is the author of Daughter of the Burning City and The Shadow Game series. The first installment, Ace of Shades, released in April 2018. (Just this week, actually!)

Amanda will be co-leading writing workshops with Christine Lynn Herman at both Ch1Con and Ch21Con, as well as speaking on the conferences’ combined ask anything panel. Plus, in honor of speaking at the conferences, Amanda is thrilled to give away a signed copy of Daughter of the Burning City!

Just click the link below to enter the raffle. We’ll leave it open for one week!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Find Amanda online:

Check out Amanda’s books:

Thanks for joining us for 2018 conference speaker reveals all week! Reminder that we don’t have all of our speakers for the 2018 conferences solidified yet, so keep an eye on our websites for the announcements of our final speakers in the coming weeks!

day five

– The Ch1Events Team