For attendees

As we get closer to HippoCamp, the information on this Attendee page will help you plan for the event and your visit to Lancaster.

Hippocampus Magazine is excited to welcome writers and creative nonfiction lovers from all over the nation (and globe) to Lancaster for our conference for creative nonfiction writers. We'd like to remind our attendees that we expect all conference-goers to respect others, and, to formalize that request, HippoCamp has adopted a code of conduct.

Note: The information after the Arrival Guide is the original content on this page, and may still be helpful.

Registration is officially over, but you may still add on a workshop or meal plan here.

Attendee Arrival Guide

New information to prepare you for arrival! (added 8/6)

Here's an overview of some important information about your arrival and the conference. (You can also download this info as a PDF.) We want to be thorough, and that means this might be a little longer. So, here's a look at what we will cover:

  • Registration & Arrival
    • Pre-Conference Workshop Info
  • Schedule
    • Sessions
    • Meals
    • Social events
    • Final day bag storage
  • Transportation & Parking
  • What to Bring
    • Lit Swap Table details
  • Book Sale Table
  • Get Involved
    • Conference Facebook Group
    • Hashtag Action

**Visit our conference website's COVID page for the most up-to-date details regarding health and safety.**

Download the Attendee Arrival Guide


  • You'll find us on Level 3 of the Marriott
  • The reg desk opens at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13 in the Heritage Lobby. Get your name badge, program booklet,and tote bag here.
  • The conference officially begins at 4 p.m., Friday, Aug. 13.
  • If you're arriving Saturday, the desk opens at 8:30 a.m. the 14th.

Pre-Conference Workshop Arrival Info

  • If you are signed up for a pre-conference workshop, you may check in between10 and 10:55 a.m. (All other attendees can register after 1 p.m.)
  • Workshops are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • As noted in the description, your workshop ticket includes a snack/coffee/tea break at noon.


We encourage you to peruse the website for full details about all the sessions, activities, and speakers between now and the conference.

Conference Sessions

  • You will receive a printed program booklet when you check in.
  • You can download a “quick look”schedule here, which is essentially the center spread of that printed booklet.
  • You do not need to officially select your breakout sessions ahead of time; you can make decisions on the fly!


The following meals/snacks are including with your registration:

  • Opening reception (heavy appetizers and cash bar; one drink on us w/ a ticket)
  • Saturday morning hot breakfast
  • Saturday lunch buffet
  • Sunday morning hot breakfast
  • Sunday lunch buffet
  • Sunday afternoon refreshment break

Vegan and gluten-free items will be labeled.

If you ordered a guest meal plan(s), they will be given to you with your registration materials.

Social Events/Misc.

Thursday 6:30 p.m. - if you are in town early or live close by - join us of an unofficial pre-conference meet-up at Tellus 360 at 6:30 p.m. -- note, we'll gather on the ground level in the back room – a space we have to ourselves – in a space called The Temple. This is always fun!

Friday, 8 p.m. - It’s the third edition of HippoCamp Story Slam, produced by Lancaster Story Slam. We’ll have some snacks and a cash bar. (Heritage D)

Saturday, 9:30 p.m. – The Writers Bridge Live: Ask Us Anything, with Ashleigh Renard and Allison K Williams (Heritage D)

Sunday, 6:30 a.m. – pre-breakfast yoga, Hickory Room

All weekend, during conf. hours; book sale table w/ books + more

What do I do with my bags on Sunday?

We know: Check-out times are so early! If you need to check out of your Marriott room Sunday, the hotel will hold your bags until the end of the conference. If you are not staying at the Marriott and need somewhere to store your bags, we’re happy to keep them in our locked conference office. See the registration desk.


Hotel Parking: If you are staying at the Lancaster Marriott, the conference venue, parking is included with your reservation. (Parking is in the Penn Square Garage at 38 S. Duke St.) If you are driving to the Marriott each day, you can get a discounted parking ticket at the HippoCamp registration desk. (When you leave the garage, you will insert both the ticket you got when parking as well as the discount voucher, which will apply the discount.)

Transportation from MDT (Harrisburg) airport: Your best bet is a taxi or ride-share app. It’s about a 25-minute ride to the Marriott.

Transportation from PHL airport: The most common options would be: airport to 30th Street station (by taxi or SEPTA train), 30th St. Station to Lancaster (Keystone Route), then taxi or ride- share to Marriott.

Transportation from Amtrak station: There is always a line of cabs waiting at normal train arrival times. You can also ride-share or call for a cab (we recommend Unique Cab of Lancaster for local taxi service).

Transportation around Lancaster: All official conference activities are held within the Lancaster Marriott. If you’re staying elsewhere, wish to go beyond the central downtown for dinner, or want to explore before or after the conference, and need transportation you can use: Lyft, local taxi, or Red Rose Transit (local bus). We also have a few bike-rental spots near the hotel.


There’s no dress-code for HippoCamp. We’re a laid-back conference, so come with with ou’re most comfortable. What we DO recommend is a sweater or light jacket as session room AC can get chilly. Please know that we monitor the temp and general consensus of a particular room and ask the hotel staff to adjust as needed, but even still, that “just right” temp for everyone will vary. Bringing an outer layer, just in case, is a good idea!

Water Bottle
Hydration is important! We suggest bringing a reusable bottle so you can refill it at our water stations, which you’ll find in each session room. (If you don’t have one; no worries;they’ll be plenty of cups available!)

Note-taking Stuff
This sounds obvious, we know. But we wanted to remind you that you’re going to learn a lot! Use the best note-taking method for you -- whether a notebook and pen, typing into a notes app, or using your laptop.

Business Cards (etc.)
In a day of digital contacts, business cards still stand out! Bring some to swap with other attendees. (If you don’t have any, your local Staples or Office Depot/Max might be able to print some for you with a quick-turnaround time and at a reasonable price. MooCards and other online providers also often have a rush-job option -- and you can have those sent to the hotel to buy you more time!)

Lit Swap Table
All attendees are invited to bring something to place at our lit swap tables to share with attendees. (This is usually a business card, postcard, flier, bookmark, pen, etc.) Please don’t forget to take any remaining items with you; everything left behind will be discarded during the venue’s tear down.

Book Sale Table
If you purchased a spot at the book sale table, you will, of course, need to bring your books! If this is you, you’ll receive an email from our book sale manager with some logistical details.


  • Join our conference Facebook group here. (Reminder -- this is for attendees to interact, not an official customer service channel; see below on best place to send questions.)
  • And if you are active on Twitter and/or Instagram, use the hashtag #HippoCamp21 to interact with others and find other attendees.
  • We’re looking for guest bloggers! Bringing back an idea from our first annual conference, we’re putting out a call for attendees to write and submit a brief blog recap of a session (or two). This will help others get some takeaways from sessions they couldn’t attend. Email us if you’re interested.


If you are coming in early or staying later to add on some vacation time, we have a few ideas on what to do at our Around the Region section of the travel page. Suggestions include: doing an escape room with some conference friends (we have two local escape rooms, and on is downtown), catch an indie film at Zoetropolis, catch a marionette show at Lancaster Marionette Theater. If your family is coming along and you have youngsters, consider North Museum of Science, Lancaster Science Factory, and Dutch Wonderland. The famed Hershey Park is less than an hour away as well.


The BEST place to ask questions before the conference begins is through email at -- we have messages sent to this addressautomatically flagged as important and filtered into a specific folder. We will do our best to respond quickly, but please understand we’ll be doing a lot of running around this week and might be away from devices for hours at a time.

DURING the conference, the best place to ask questions is at the Registration/Resource desk; whoever is staffing the table at the time will have the answer or will know who to ask and how to reach them.


The following is the original Attendee page content, before we updated the page with the Arrival Guide.

Next Steps for Attendees

As we get closer to HippoCamp, the information on this Attendee page will help you plan for the event and your visit to Lancaster, including information about the book sale and guest meal plans.

Look for Attendee Updates & Communication

We love to stay in contact with attendees between the time you order and the event itself, so expect some periodic updates! We'll send them to the email address we have on file for you from your attendee registration form. In the meantime, you can meet and mingle with other past and future attendees at our HippoCamp Facebook group.

Note: About two weeks before the conference, we'll send a detailed email with a pre-arrival checklist.

Plan Your Travel/Book Your Stay

Our Location and Travel page has details on lodging and transportation. You can also connect with other attendees looking for roommates or rides-sharing at our Facebook group. (If you're not on Facebook, drop as an email and we'll try to connect you with someone who might be looking.) Remember that our room block closes 7/21.

Plot Your Schedule

While you don't have to sign up ahead of time for individual breakout sessions at HippoCamp, we encourage you to peruse the schedule to get an idea of what you might like to see. At the conference, you'll also receive a printed program that you can page through!

You may also enjoy reading our series of Speaker Spotlights.

Reserve Your Spot at Our Book Sale Table

We offer our attendees the opportunity to place up to two books for sale at the conference book sale table. If you have a book you'd like to sell at HippoCamp, our friendly conference staff members can help.

You can reserve your spot from the registration form; if you've already registered, simply select the “add to existing registration" option. Then, our book sale manager will be in touch with you about the logistics! (In short, you'll bring the books with you; we'll take care of the sales for you while you enjoy the conference, and we'll square up with you after.)

Share Your Work: Lit Swap Table

We also offer a Lit Swap table. Feel free to bring a small stack of fliers, stickers, postcards, business cards, or other handout to share with attendees. Remember to pick up extras when you leave.

Purchase Guest Meal & Keynote Package

If you're traveling to Lancaster with a partner, friend, or family member who is not attending the conference, your guest may still be able to eat some meals with you and/or enjoy the Saturday evening keynote. Guest meal packages start at $30 for the opening reception/evening readings to $75 for all meals and the keynote, with several options in between. You can purchase a meal plan from the registration form; if you've already registered, simply select the “add to existing registration" option.

NOTE: Your guest's meal tickets and name tag for the reception will be with your registration materials.

Share Your Moments & Follow Along: #hippocamp21

If you're active on Twitter and Instagram, we make good use of our conference hashtag — #hippocamp21 — all the way leading up to the conference and after. Twitter, especially, is a great way to meet attendees beforehand, share nuggets of wisdom (and photos!) during the conference, and stay in touch afterwards. If you're not already following us, we’re @hippocampusmag on both Twitter and Instagram.

Accessibility, Dietary & Other Accommodations

To help us best prepare for your arrival, we asked about any needs in a required field on the attendee registration form. (This means if your registration went through, you either checked off that you didn’t have any needs, or checked off the ones that pertain to you. We made this a required field this year to make sure no one missed it!) If a need developed after the time of registration, please simply reach out to us and we can edit your attendee registration.

Other Questions?

Our ABOUT page features a brief FAQ and other details about HippoCamp (including COVID-19 precautions).