Big News: HippoCamp is Happening – Our Annual Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers is Back

conference room full of people with aisle of people lined up to ask questions, from HippoCamp 2017

HippoCamp. is. happening. IT’S HAPPENING!

The Hippocampus Magazine team is overjoyed to announce that HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers is returning to the universe after a year of hibernation.

HippoCamp 2021 is August 13-15 at the Lancaster Marriott in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Registration Opens May 15 | Room Block Open Now

Your safety and comfort = #1: The venue has implemented elevated practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and our typical event layout/logistics, including meals, will be modified to adhere to current social distancing and other best practices. 

The in-person event — designed just for creative nonfiction writers — features three days of sessions that explore the craft of creative nonfiction; marketing, platform, and publicity; and living a balanced writing life.

This blog post shares a few highlights, including this year’s keynote, and the conference website will continue to be updated with speaker, session, and schedule information. And the About, Attendee, and FAQ pages will have information you need about lodging, traveling to Lancaster, COVID-19 conference precautions and safety guidelines, and more.

We hope you will join us for the return of our favorite annual event, whether you’re a returning attendee or will be a first-time HippoCamp’er!

You’ll be hearing lots more about this event on the magazine blog–but here’s some information to get you excited:

HippoCamp Highlights

Saturday Evening Keynote: Marion Winick

Winik, Marion

Photo by Greg Dohler

Marion Winik is an award-winning columnist and renowned humorist. Among her nine books of creative nonfiction are The Big Book of the Dead, First Comes Love and Above Us Only Sky. Her award-winning Bohemian Rhapsody column appears monthly at Baltimore Fishbowl, and her essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Sun, and elsewhere. A board member of the National Book Critics Circle, she writes book reviews for People, Newsday, The Washington Post, and Kirkus Reviews, and hosts The Weekly Reader podcast at WYPR. She was a commentator on NPR for fifteen years and her honors include an NEA Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction and inductee into the Texas Institute of Letters.

Cheryl Strayed praised Winik for “her ability to write about the hardest, darkest subjects with a light, knowing hand.” Known for her hilarious, yet redemptive, takes on topics from parenthood, divorce and dating, to death and loss, to memoir and the writing life, Winik is a sought-after keynote speaker, and has appeared on Today, Politically Incorrect and Oprah.

Marion Winik is a graduate of Brown University and the Brooklyn College MFA program. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

A Night of Nonfiction: Debut CNF Author Readings & Discussion

After a conference orientation and (modified) opening reception, we’ll gather safely to hear from a half dozen writers who will soon or have recently released their debut memoir or other book-length work of nonfiction. Confirmed as of this announcement:

  • Lilly Dancyger (Negative Space)
  • Carol Smith (Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved My Life, A Memoir)
  • Greg Mania (Born to Be Public: A Memoir)

Additional authors to be announced soon.

All Weekend


We’re still finalizing the HippoCamp 2021 schedule, but to give you a sneak peek, here are a few of our confirmed sessions and speakers. (Full session descriptions, speaker bios, and schedule details available at the official HippoCamp conference website soon.)

Speaker(s) Session Title
Lilly Dancyger Three Ways to Use Research in Personal Narratives
Margaret Montet Speaking for Writers
Karen Carnabucci Break the Blocks, Find the Brilliance and Get Back to Writing
Aurora Bonner Kill Your Darlings, Marie Kondo, and Other Revision Strategies
Lara Lillibridge & Amy Fish Powering Through the Post-Publication Doldrums
Lara Lillibridge Sunday Flash Session, Should I Self-Publish? If so, How?)
Jamie Beth Be a Literary Citizen: How to create community and why it matters
Athena Dixon Write, Work, Live: Balancing a Day Job, Writing, and Trying to Do What You Love
Angie Chatman How to Write What You Don’t Know
John Teske Memory and Memoir: The Science of Memory in First Person Storytelling
Lisa Kohn It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint – How to Keep Your Book Going After the First Year
Kristen Paulson-Nguyen Title, Found—How Memoirists Did It—and You Can, Too
Allison K Williams Queries, Pages and Getting an Agent (+ a pre-conference masterworkshop, Writing the Memoir Proposal)
Lisa Ellison Creating a Birds-Eye View of Your Book: The Chapter Summary Project
Paloma Capanna CNF: At what point do you call the lawyer?
Stephanie Feuer Using Your Fifth Sense for Scent-sational Writing
Mathina Calliope Scene-Building Craft Intensive – pre-conference workshop
Vicki Mayk Beyond Touchdowns, Homeruns and Heroes: Writing About Sports And Athletes
Kelly Caldwell If I Want Your Opinion, I’ll Pay You For It: Writing Op-Eds
Dorothy Rice If a Memoir is a Slice of Life, How Many Pieces Do You Get?
Ruth Nasrullah A Sacred Trust: Getting it Right When Writing About Religion
Amy Eaton FAIL (then get back up and try again)
Joey Garcia What Happens to Your Book Inside a Newsroom
Kathleen Cadmus LET’S TALK ABOUT IT: Writing about mental illness with accuracy and empathy
Damon Brown & Jeanette Hurt Using Journalism Skills to Master Your Manuscript

Not Ready for Live Events Yet?

We know not everyone is going to be able to, or comfortable with, traveling and gathering just yet. With that in mind, we wanted to give advance notice of our 2022 event:


HippoCamp 2022

August 14-16 | Lancaster, PA

with Carmen Maria Machado (keynote)

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