Kira Vermond says she’s living a double life. After many years as a successful journalist writing for national magazines and newspapers, she’s discovered a new love: writing non-fiction for children.
She’ll be covering both topics in two separate sessions during her fourth appearance at U of G’s 2016 Library Writers Workshop Feb. 18 and 19. The event includes 20 sessions that cover a wide variety of writing, from fiction and magazine writing, to social media and digital communication, to technical and academic writing. Instructors will offer tips and instruction for writers of all levels. The workshop is free and open to the public.
Vermond recently won the Norma Fleck Award for her children’s non-fiction book Why We Live Where We Live.
“You have to respect the children who will be reading your book,” says Vermond, who will share many tips during her presentation. “When you do, your writing changes for the better.”
She adds that writing for adult readers is much the same. “I am constantly thinking about my audience and asking myself ‘What do they want and need from this book or article?’”
Biology professor Ryan Gregory is also a repeat presenter at the workshops — this will be his fifth time participating. His session, “Publish or Perish,” is based on a series of tips for writing scientific papers that he prepared for his graduate students — Gregory adapted it to help a wider audience of academic writers. The session attracts a varied audience from students to new faculty, and covers designing studies with publication in mind, to structuring the paper and dealing with peer reviews.
“It’s important to have a strategy,” says Gregory of organizing and writing a paper. “The order you write the sections of the paper is not the order they will be read.”
He also has advice when dealing with peer review comments. “When you reply to comments from peer reviewers, you are responding to the editor, not the reviewers,” says Gregory, who is a frequent reviewer, as well as editor of a scientific journal. “Your goal is not to argue with the reviewer, but to convince the editor that you have made the changes or can explain why you disagree.”
For both presenters, helping others keeps them coming back. Vermond recalls arriving to teach her session two years ago. “I was signing in when a young man approached me,” she says. “He told me he’d been waiting for me so he could tell me how I’d changed his life.” After attending one of Vermond’s earlier workshops, he quit his job to become a freelance writer and loved his new career.
“Moments like that make it all worthwhile,” says Vermond.
To register for any of the free workshops or for more information, visit the Writers Workshop web page.