About the event

HippoCamp, produced by Hippocampus Magazine and Books, is a warm and welcoming conference geared toward creative nonfiction writers of all skill levels and backgrounds, and it offers plenty of opportunities for you to hone your craft, explore publishing options, and find ways to balance your writing and "real" life, as well as chances to meet, learn from, and share with writers like you.

This three-day creative writing conference in PA features 40+ notable speakers, engaging sessions in four tracks, interactive panels, readings, social activities, networking opps and optional, intimate pre-conference workshops. All of this, plus meals and snacks, bundled into a great, comprehensive conference rate. Our host city is Lancaster, Pa., a bustling mid-size metropolis rich in history, arts and culture. Explore this site to learn more.

WAIT. WHAT? HIPPOCAMP? OK.

It may sound silly at first glance, so if you're new to us, we should explain: First, our magazine name comes from the seahorse-shaped portion of the brain related to forming memories: the hippocampus. So, then, our conference name is a playful take on our magazine title mixed with that summer-camp feeling you get when spending lots of time learning and bonding with new friends over a short period of time! Voila! HippoCamp! And this means we can call our attendees HippoCamp'ers!)

Conference Overview: Format & Details

HippoCamp, now in its sixth year, is formatted in the style of a professional development, industry conference more so than that of a typical writing or academic conference. It's more like a TEDx than an AWP in that it’s focused on solo presenters passionate about a topic rather than panel after panel. Expect to learn a lot and return home with a notebook and brain full of ideas!

A few distinctions:

  • Our vocabulary is a bit different than other writing conferences: rather than faculty and classes and students, we have presenters and sessions and attendees.
  • We offer many sessions outside the traditional literary world, many of which draw inspiration from business, technology, media, education, and creativity — we expect that attendees will use critical thinking to see how these ideas can translate to their own writing life. In short, everything here is not literally literary.
  • We offer many sessions outside the traditional literary world, many of which draw inspiration from business, technology, media, education, and creativity — we expect that attendees will use critical thinking to see how these ideas can translate to their own writing life. In short, everything here is not literally literary.

Past keynote and featured speakers have included Tobias Wolff, Mary Karr, Nick Flynn, Abigail Thomas, Beverly Donofrio, Lee Gutkind, Dinty W. Moore, Jacki Lyden, Ashley C. Ford, and Jane Friedman. (View recaps of all past HippoCamps.)

The HippoCamp 2021 Team

HippoCamp is a completely volunteer effort. Thanks to members of the magazine team who also give time to the event, as well as our friends who help out specifically at the conference. This also includes some of our local friends, who aren’t writers, who are happy to provide coverage so our volunteer-attendees can still be part of most of the conference! We begin planning the next conference shortly after the previous one ends, with 100s of hours dedicated over about 10 months.

What is also way cool is that many HippoCamp attendees then join our magazine staff as volunteer readers or copy editors, or return to the conference as a volunteer the following year! We love our team!

  • Founder and Conference Director – Donna Talarico
  • Conference Operations Manager – Kevin Beerman
  • Magazine Liaison/Attendee Relations – Rae Pagliarulo
  • Book Sale Manager – D. Louise Mervine
  • Registration Desk Lead Volunteers – Angela Eckhart and K. Justice Fisher
  • On-site Volunteers – TBA
  • Programming Committee – Steph Auteri, Amy Brazillier, K. Justice Fisher, Lara Lillibridge, Anthony Mohr, Rae Pagliarulo, Donna Talarico, Eli Tomazewski, Denise Weaver (This year’s programming committee includes those who read proposals for our 2020 event, which have rolled over into this year’s event)
  • Hippocampus Magazine staff

For questions not answered on this website, email conference@hippocampusmagazine.com.