CCA Writers’ Conference features top speakers


Canyon Crest Academy’s Creative Writing Club has opened registration for the 11th annual CCA Writers’ Conference to be held in person on Saturday, March 19 and online on Sunday, March 20. This event is the only free writing conference for high schools and colleges. students in schools across the country.

Erin Grammar

(Alex Grammar)

Participants should note that masks will be required. Students can register at

Bella Hirst, co-chair of the CCA’s Creative Writing Club, said, “We’re thrilled that all of these young writers can come together and learn from truly amazing authors, poets and others. The conference is an incredible opportunity to grow as a writer, and we hope everyone takes advantage of it.

Speakers include keynote speaker Michael Gaulden, speaker and author of “My Way Home”, an inspirational memoir about growing up homeless in the inner city. He is also CEO of Creating First Impressions, a communication and work readiness organization for the homeless, foster families, juvenile court and all disadvantaged youth.

Other speakers include:

Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestseller, five-time Bram Stoker Prize winner, three-time Scribe Prize winner, Inkpot Prize winner and comic book writer, executive producer, feature writer, playwright and writing teacher/lecturer, which will present: Teens at the End Times: Writing Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian YA Fiction. His vampire apocalypse book series, “V-Wars,” was a Netflix original series.

Gretchen McNeil

Gretchen McNeil


Gretchen McNeil: Acclaimed author of “Get Even and Get Dirty”, which was adapted into a series “Get Even” for the BBC and Netflix, which will present: All the World’s a Stage.

• Amy Spalding, award-winning author of several novels, including the bestsellers “We Used to Be Friends” and “The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles),” will present: Taking Out the Tragedy of Young LGBTQ Fiction for adults.

Alonso Nunezfounder and executive director of Little Fish Comic Book Studio, a non-profit comic book art studio and advocacy group, will present: Into the Comic-Verse: A Comic Book Writing Workshop!

Gill Sotu, Navy veteran, multi-faceted poet, playwright, musician, DJ and performing artist. He’s a two-time Poetry Grand Slam champion, two-time Rough Artist of the Year, and more will present: Healing Through Poetry.

Nick Zayas, a Hollywood writer for film and television, including writing on “Major Crimes,” and as a writer and co-producer on “Star Trek: Picard,” will present: Writing for Film and Television: What I would have liked to know upstairs School.

• Chris Hamilton, Founder and CEO of Hamilton Education, will present Six Secrets for Great College Essays. He assisted Hamilton College Consulting, helping local and international students apply to selective colleges. Hamilton has helped literally hundreds of students gain admission to Ivy-level universities, and thousands find a path to colleges of all kinds.

James Raney, award-winning novelist and screenwriter who is currently writing on the CBS procedural, “Bull,” will present: Fast and Furious, Writing Great Action Scenes for Novel and Screen. He will also present the inspirational talk titled Writing Through Tragedy.

Nathalie Lakosilliterary agent at the Irene Goodman Agency, will present Getting Published 101.

Catriona McPhersonnationally bestselling, multi-award winning crime novelist, will present: Deep in a Bowl of Porridge: Planting Clues and Obscuring Red Herrings.

Nikki Katzrecovery rocket scientist, author of “The Midnight Dance” and “The King’s Questioner”, publisher, book developer and social media stalker will present: Turning a Familiar Story Upside Down: The Art of Retellings.

Erin Grammarfirst author of “Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl,” will present: Ugly and Proud: Emotional Authenticity in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Tammy Greenwoodauthor of 13 award-winning novels, including “Keeping Lucy”, “Rust & Stardust”, “Where I Lost Her” and “Bodies of Water”, will present: Crisis, Apogee, Conclusion).

Bijan Mostafavihilarious comedian and lead instructor for the School of Talk’s Comedy Workshop, will present: Yes, You Can Write Stand Up Comedy.

Margaret Dillowayaward-winning author of “Where the Sky Lives,” “The Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters,” and more, will feature: Include social issues in your novels.

Greg van Eekhoutaward-winning author of nine novels, including “Weird Kid,” “COG,” “Voyage of the Dogs” and the “California Bones” trilogy, will present: Blasting Through Writers Block.

Kevin Langdon, a local singer-songwriter, improviser and teacher of musical improvisation, will present: Writing Memorable Songs.

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, a longtime supporter of the conference, will be selling speaker books at the event through its website.


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