Ends in 2 days, 23 hours

(Information cross-posted on our call for submissions page on the conference website.)

HippoCamp’s programming is mostly for-attendees, by attendees! With the exception of keynotes and our few panels, our conference is built from the proposals YOU submit!

We’re enthusiastically inviting attendees who also are interested in being part of our speaker line-up to submit a session proposal for HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers in one of our three traditional tracks, our new addition of a special topics track, or our flash sessions:

  • Breakout Sessions: We're looking for dynamic speakers and engaging, informative, practical 60-minute sessions that will give our attendees actionable takeaways. Breakout session presenters will receive a special discounted attendee rate (about 60% off conference registration).
  • Lightning-Round (Flash!) presentation: HippoCamp will hold a general session featuring five to six 7-minute presentations (PechaKucha Style) by select attendees. Flash session presenters will receive a special discounted attendee rate (about 50% off conference registration).

Deadline is Dec. 1, 2017; we'll announce the line-up in late December/early January before tickets go on sale in late January.


  • We’re not an academic conference, and we’re not a retreat or workshop.
  • We’re formatted in the style of a professional development conference – we’re more similar to Confab (a content marketing conference) than AWP. We’re more inspired by Austin (a la SXSW) than academia.
  • Our vocabulary is a bit different than other conferences: rather than faculty and classes and students, we have presenters and sessions and attendees.

Now that we have three conference’s worth of feedback, we’ve begun to really hone our “conference aesthetic.”


Based on our highest-rated sessions and speakers from past events, here’s what we’re looking for in speakers and sessions:


We want smart, dynamic, passionate, friendly speakers to fill our roster! Here are some details:

  • Speakers of all backgrounds and levels of experience are welcome - we love giving people a chance to make their professional conference debut!
  • Your passion for and knowledge of your topic is often more important to us than your years of experience or publication credits or professional affiliations.
  • We look for well-prepared speakers who can deliver an informative, inspiring presentation with energy, confidence and poise. We're not looking for people who "just wing-it."
  • We love speakers who aren’t afraid to step out from behind the podium and engage with the audience. Even better when that engagement continues throughout the conference.
  • We look for sincere speakers who care about the audience and are here to share knowledge and help writers – not just to add a bullet point on a resume or CV (but that IS a perk, too!)
  • We’re also looking for speakers from outside the literary world! Some of our highest-rated or most-Tweetable speakers in 2016 and 2017 were from other industries who were able to tie their expertise to the writing world.
  • And on the administrative side -- we look for professional, cordial speakers who are committed to their involvement in this conference – this means communicating with us before the conference and helping us plan by providing your technical needs, reading/replying to speaker correspondence and providing requested information in a timely manner. We cannot emphasize this enough; when a speaker is unprepared, it reflects on the conference as well.
  • Also on the administrative/logistical side - we are looking for speakers who can adhere to a time limit, who can think quick on their feet if they hit a snag (either a tech snafu or getting sidetracked by a question and needing to get back on track). We are also looking for speakers completely comfortable with any technology they choose to use. For instance, if you are not familiar with PowerPoint or Prezi, please do not opt to "try it out" for the first time during a professional presentation. We LOVE multimedia presentations, but only use this option to enhance your presentation and IF you are experienced in the platform you choose. 


We love TEDTalks. We prefer giving one rock star a chance to light up a room at a breakout session over offering only panels (although we have those, too!).

  • We love fresh ideas! Topics we haven’t seen before at conferences.
  • We love variety! While memoir is a big part of the CNF genre, our offerings should include more types of writing and other publication goals.
  • We love practical sessions: presentations that leave attendees with a list of notes and to-dos.
  • But not every session has to be a writing lesson per se – we also look for inspirational, this-is-my-story-type or this-is-how-I-did-it presentations. Sessions of the latter nature should still have key takeaways.
  • We love sessions that share lots of examples/case studies – seeing the theory in action makes a presentation more memorable.

What we’re not looking for in a session proposal:

  • We’re not typically looking for breakout sessions with lots of writing activities or group work; it’s not manageable given the allotted time and large group. Small prompts and some interaction are OK and, in fact, encouraged and well-received. But our breakout sessions are not intended to be a workshopping scenario.
  • We’re not looking for ultra-specific topics, such as exploring the works of one particular writer.
  • We’re not looking for sessions led by more than two people.
  • We’re not looking for paper presentations. (However, use that paper and research to build an awesome presentation!)
  • Although this is clearly stated as a call for breakout sessions, we want to reiterate that we are not looking for panel or workshop proposals.


Why present at a professional development conference for writers?

  • It’s fun
  • A speaking credential to list on your resume, or if you are in academia, your CV
  • Be part of the Hippocampus Magazine mission
  • Gain recognition from your peers
  • Earn visibility in your field; continue to build your platform and authority on a topic
  • Receive a nice registration discount
  • Get other cool swag

HippoCamp speaker expectations:

  • Presenters must be registered attendees of the conference and must officially register at least 30 days before conference (before program goes to print).
  • Submitting a proposal does not mean you are committing to attend or to present at HippoCamp; if we accept your session idea, we’ll confirm that you are definitely able to attend, and you can make your final decision then. You have time to figure it all out!
  • Presenters must agree to read and respond in a timely manner to speaker communication emails/requests for information to help with day-of logistics/meet deadlines for technology requests, etc.
  • Presenters must agree to a group or individual phone call about a month before the conference for a brief speaker orientation, which includes covering the expectations outlined here.
  • Presenters must agree to have their session recorded/photographed for future use and for marketing and archival purposes.
  • Presenters are encouraged to share slides and/or presentation materials (if applicable) for use for post-conference promotion.
  • Presenters are responsible for their own handouts (if applicable).
  • Presenters must respect time limits (no doing so adversely affects their peer presenters); this means you'll take your presentation preparation seriously and practice and arrive on time.
  • There is a maximum of two presenters for break-out sessions and one presenter for flash sessions.

Good luck!

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