Want to write more about your travels? The Charms of Travel Writing: Enhancing Your Narrative With Memoir, Research, and Serendipity with Margaret Montet is a great place to start. Margaret’s session focuses on weaving layers of meaning into your existing travel narrative, making it richer and more poignant for readers. She shared her excitement about HippoCamp 2017 with us.

Margaret Montet

Hippocampus: Without sharing any spoilers, what can attendees expect from your session or workshop?

Margaret: Participants will gain ideas in my workshop for adding depth to a travel story. Rather than writing a straightforward “where I went—what I saw—where I ate” narrative, participants will learn some strategies for adding additional literary interest and depth.


Who would benefit the most from your session or workshop?

I think writers from any skill level would benefit from this workshop, but especially travel writers who would like a new perspective on their genre and memoirists who would like to add a sense of place.


Literary citizenship is so important today, and by being part of our conference, you’re contributing to the CNF community — why is sharing with others important to you?

It’s a case of paying it forward—and backward. I have often been the beneficiary of other writers’ ideas, creativity, and brilliance, so if there is any possibility that I can return the favor with ideas or brainstorming I’m happy to share. It’s also selfish on my part because I learn so much from attendees!


What are you hoping to learn as an attendee at HippoCamp?     

HippoCamp is a unique conference, and I enjoy just being around other writers in such a warm, friendly, and hip environment. With the focus on CNF exclusively, I’m sure to be inspired by the presentations I attend and conversations that happen!


Lancaster is an amazing city. What suggestions do you have for those who haven’t been here yet?

As a quilter, I visit Lancaster frequently for the best selection of fabrics, gadgets, and ideas. I see stunning hand-sewn quilts everywhere. As a railfan, I enjoy visiting the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the Strasburg Railroad, and other railroad-themed landmarks. While working on a magazine about this railroad mecca, I even stayed in a quirky hotel made up of retired, repurposed cabooses! The region is full of interesting sites and activities from a chocolate factory to a pretzel factory, smorgasbord restaurants, two rather large outlet malls, Amish buggy rides, and even a Pennsylvania Dutch-themed amusement park.


What was the a recent and memorable work of creative nonfiction you read – whether a book or shorter piece? (And what did you love about it?)

I’m just about to finish Geoff Dyer’s But Beautiful, a genre-busting book about jazz. The bulk of the book is imaginative, but based on verifiable facts, and focuses on six iconic jazz personalities. Interspersed are vignettes about Duke Ellington’s travels between gigs with Harry Carney. Just as I was pigeonholing this book as not-nonfiction, I got to the Afterword which brilliantly ties together the riffs on jazz musicians with smart, traditional music criticism. Honestly, it’s one of the most creative, mind-stretching books I’ve ever read. (I’ve decided it can’t be pigeonholed, by the way. Those riffs are more like improvisatory solos of jazz musicians. What could be more appropriate?)


Anything else?

At the time of HippoCamp 2017, I’ll have been finished with my degree from the Pan-European MFA Program at Cedar Crest College for approximately two months. I’ll be hungry for ideas and inspiration!


If you’re hungry for ideas and inspiration for your creative nonfiction, register today to join us at HippoCamp 2017!

Interested in registering for HippoCamp? Get details here. Registration closes 8/28.

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