By Jenna MacFarlane
I’ve been attending writers’ conferences for over thirty years, beginning with Squaw
Valley in the mid-90s. Each one has left me inspired, pumped up, and raring to go. But the one I keep
returning to is Pikes Peak Writers. When I was asked why I keep coming back, the answer was
The annual conference consistently checks all the boxes—insightful education, pitching
agents and editors, networking opportunities, and breathtaking scenery. Check and check.
Writing and all that goes with it can be high stakes—there are only so many books to be
acquired. A limited amount of agents to represent. And I’ve felt that underlying tension at other
conferences. But not at Pikes Peak Writers. Quite the opposite.
Pikes Peak Writers Conference is possibly the friendliest. Each year has gone like this:
smiling faces greeting me, wanting to hear about my writing, asking questions, and answering mine.
And they were sincere.
As I’ve delved deeper into the Pikes Peak Writers community, I’ve discovered people
clamoring to help and encourage others, recognizing as I do, that books are born from a support
Pikes Peak Writers get this. To them, the conferences are about celebrating community
and each others’ successes. Does this sound too good to be true? Thirty years ago, I might’ve
In the end, the answer as to why I’m crazy about this conference is the community. The X-factor is the people.
So, this testimonial may be woefully inadequate in its depth but it carries with it the simple message. For me, my writing has always been electrified by conferences, yes, but it’s the people at the conferences that keep me rooted and wanting to be there for others as they’ve been for me.
Pikes Peak Writers holds many events during the year but because I journey from the East Coast I must limit myself to the annual conference in the spring. I’m smiling as I write this, thinking about how unusual it is to feel that level of encouragement in what could be a fiercely competitive environment. Pikes Peak Writers are my people and the conference is my village.
Too simple? Yes, maybe. But for this writer, the answer. It’s the people.
Jenna MacFarlane’s first novel, HARDWARE STORIES, debuted in February 2022. Her story “Old Debt” is published in the anthology About Time. MacFarlane holds a BA in Studio Art from Humboldt State University and has lived in the central Piedmont of North Carolina for many years. When MacFarlane’s not writing, hiking, painting, or restoring, she’s stocking shelves at a local supermarket. MacFarlane’s memoir, HINDSIGHT, will be published in 2023.