DODGE CITY, Kansas – Five award-winning authors, including historian R. Eli Paul and novelist Max McCoy, will discuss writing about the American West in a two-day symposium scheduled Oct. 7-8 at the Dodge City Public Library.
James Ersfeld Memorial Symposiums were started in 2015 by the nonprofit Western Writers of America to encourage people in the writing field, with a focus on the Western genre. Western Writers of America, founded in the 1950s to promote and honor literature about the West, debuted the symposium, which features various subjects and authors, last year at the Denver Public Library. Additional programs have been held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The symposium is named after Ersfeld, Western Writers of America’s assistant director who died of cancer in 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the age of 62.
In addition to Paul, author of Battle at Blue Water Creek and Eyewitness to Wounded Knee, and McCoy, other scheduled presenters for the Dodge City program include novelist Susan K. Salzer, and Melody Groves and Monty McCord, both of whom write fiction and nonfiction. Joining them for the opening session Oct. 7 is New York Times best-selling nonfiction writer Chris Enss.
“We encourage writers of all levels of experience to attend,” WWA executive director Candy Moulton said. “This is a chance to have one-on-one contact with some of the leading authors in the field of Western Literature who will provide insight and specific information to aid both new and established writers.”
The symposium is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 7 with a “The Paths to Publication” panel in which the authors discuss how to write a good Western and how they got their own Westerns published. Enss will moderate.
A reception and book signing are scheduled after the panel.
Workshops follow on Oct. 8, beginning with two morning sessions (9:30-11:30 a.m.): McCoy’s “The Unexpected West, and What It Means to Your Writing” and Salzer’s “How to Bring Your (fictional) Characters to Life.”
McCoy will give tips on how to write a non-traditional Western. Salzer shows ways to make historical characters compelling and multifaceted.
Afternoon sessions (1-3 p.m.) are Paul’s “Opportunities in Western History, or ‘Not Another Custer Book!’” and Groves and McCord’s “So You Want to Get Published?”
Paul will show the best ways to research primary historical sources and online collections. . Groves and McCord will discuss dos and don’ts of writing, pitching and selling a fiction or nonfiction Western.
The Oct. 7 event at the Dodge City Public Library, 1001 N. Second Ave., is free. There is a $50 fee for all events associated with the Oct. 8 symposium. To register fill out the attached registration form (or obtain a copy of it by sending an email to: email@example.com.)