HippoCamp 2022 Speaker Q&A: Allison K Williams

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You know how sometimes people say, “Our next guest needs no introduction”? Well, that’s undoubtedly true for Allison K Williams, a longtime friend of Hippocampus Magazine, accomplished author, editor, and coach, and all-around wonderful human being! Allison was kind enough to answer a few questions about her upcoming trip to Lancaster for our annual writing conference:


Q: Tell us a little about your involvement this year at HippoCamp.

A: I’m teaching a new pre-conference workshop, Write Better. Right Now. It’s all about making better sentences and understanding how words and phrases function to deliver meaning, right down to their arrangement on the page. I’m excited to really dive into the exercises–in the past, I’ve taught this as a 90-minute webinar, and now we’ll have time to really explore. I’ll do some live-editing, too, where I share a volunteer’s pages on the screen and edit in real time, explaining why I suggest the changes I’m making.

Q: Our motto is “memorable creative nonfiction.” Tell us about one of the more recent memoirs, essay collections, or individual essays you’ve read and why it was memorable.

A: I was so affected by Jeniah Johnson’s “Comfort Hill,” a beautiful mediation on seasons and mortality.

Q: What made you decide to participate in HippoCamp this year as a speaker? Since you’re a returning speaker, how did your past experiences encourage to want to come back?

A: I love how “level” the conference is. At some events, there’s a distinct demarcation between speakers and attendees, but at HippoCamp we’re all going to each others’ panels and talks, we’re all sharing tables with new people. It’s the most welcoming conference I’ve ever done.

Q: What’s going to keep you busy between now and HippoCamp?

A: As I write this, I’m managing a street performer festival at an enormous mall in Kuwait! I’ve been writing and editing so much this year, it’s a pleasure to dip back into my previous career as a circus performer and event manager. I’m walking almost 10 miles a day, but it’s in air conditioning! I’ve also been planning upcoming retreats – one virtual, one in Tuscany and one in Costa Rica in 2023.

Q: Since you’ll also be attending the conference, when you’re not wearing your “speaker hat,” what are you most looking forward to learning or doing?

A: I’m really looking forward to Kristin Paulson-Nguyen’s session about finding titles! I loved her flash session last year and can’t wait to hear more.

Q: We love introducing Lancaster to attendees. Since you’ve been here plenty of times, what would you recommend to other attendees? And, what are you looking forward to?

A: There’s a lovely shop with jewelry handmade in-house and interesting clothing, Larkstone on West King. Can’t wait to see what they have this year!

Q: Anything else you want to share?

A: Hey all you introverts; I’m one too! And if you want to sit quietly at a table reading or writing and ignoring each other, hit me up!


We can’t wait for Allison to join us this year! HippoCamp 2022, a creative nonfiction conference sponsored by Hippocampus Magazine and Books, is Aug. 12-14 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For more information or to register, visit our official conference website here.

(Learn more about the conference and see details of all previous years at our magazine website’s HippoCamp page.)

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