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Community, The Arts, UNW News

Northwestern hosts largest Christian writers conference in the country


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Crowd in Knight Performance Hall

What happens when God equips 675 voices all at once? They go out from His presence, inspired to reach a hurting world with the words that God has given each of them to say, from their own unique perspective and set of experiences.

That was the scene last Saturday evening, as attendees of the first Northwestern Christian Writers Conference left the University of Northwestern's campus, after a full day of hearing from nationally known speakers and writers, including keynote speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs. Though this was just the first year for what will be an annual event, the conference sold out, and it became the largest Christian writers conference in the nation.

As the writers processed through the teachings of that day, many shared their insights on social media under the #NCWC2017 hashtag. Attendees tweeted and shared several of the teachings that impacted them most:

"Avoid the pitfall of needing people to like you. Don't let people have this power over you.... Self-preservation and self-motivation are two things everyone struggles with." Susie Larson instructed her workshop audience not to give in to either fear.

"Readers only go where you go first; go to those deep places." Higgs encouraged writers to explore the difficult situations where God has shaped them in order to be authentic with their readers.

She summed up her inspiring keynote address with memorable comments such as, "God has somebody out there waiting for words only you can write," and "God can choose anyone and God can use anyone!" Writers left motivated to overcome their doubts and trust God and His timing with their words and stories.

Conference faculty members converged from around the country and included authors, publishers, editors, and Northwestern English and Communications faculty. Throughout the full day of workshops, one-on-one appointments and panel discussions in the Professional Advice room, faculty were energized by the excitement of the attendees.

Published YA author and Northwestern alumni and conference speaker Jackie Sommers raved, "I loved the entire day, but my two favorite parts were the incredible, fun, engaged audience in my session on querying and also having lunch with a group of teenaged writers. The teens were so thoughtful, mature, clever, and deep—we had only just met, and yet our conversation steered very quickly into a discussion on the importance of redemption in their written work. I was so impressed!"

As these writers continue to think through the teachings and advice given at the conference, we will look forward to reading what God speaks through their work in the future. Their comments indicate we have much to look forward to.

"Went to #NCWC2017 today with no expectations — left with expectancy" — Kandy

"Although I have NO idea what the future has in store for me as a writer, I am sure of His provision" — Sonya

"So glad I came! I almost didn't, out of fear, but so done with the fear!" — Deb

"Thank you to all who worked so hard to create an amazing conference! This was my first writer's conference and I walked away inspired and with tools to continue down this writing journey." — Jessica

Plans are in motion for the 2018 Northwestern Christian Writers Conference, on July 14, 2018, featuring keynote speaker, Sheila Walsh. Want to hear about workshops and speakers for next year? Join the Northwestern Christian Writers Group on Facebook for updates and to connect with other writers.

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