Literary agents available to meet with attendees of Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference

Friday, May 9, 2014 - 12:03

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Attendees of this year's Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, hosted annually by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism  in the University of North Texas' Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism, will learn about the larger literary world from a book editor and several literary agents in "Unveiling the Mystery: Writing, Editing and Publishing for the Literary Market," a panel discussion. In addition, conference attendees may also meet one-on-one with a literary agent during "Close Encounters of the Literary Kind."

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which will be held July 18-20 (Friday-Sunday) at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas. With a theme of Narratives on the Cutting Edge: Writing about Science, Technology, Medicine and Innovation, the conference will feature more than 20 guest speakers who "are recognized masters at transforming the often arcane and esoteric fields of science, technology, medicine and innovation into compelling narratives that enable all of us to see our world in a new light," according to George Getschow, the Graduate Institute's writer-in-residence and conference director.

The conference's keynote speakers will be:

  • David Quammen, contributing writer for National Geographic and author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic;
  • Lawrence Wright, staff writer for The New Yorker and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose latest book is Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief; and
  • Sheri Fink, also a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of Five Days At Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, a New York Times bestseller.

The conference is again offering its Personal Essay, Book Manuscript and Reported Narrative contests. The top three winners of all three of these contests receive $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000. The first-place winner of the Book Manuscript contest also receives the option to sign a provisional book contract with the UNT Press. The three winners of both the Reported Narrative and Personal Essay contests, and four runners-up entries, will have their work included in Ten Spurs, a literary nonfiction journal published by the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism.

"Unveiling the Mystery: Writing, Editing and Publishing for the Literary Market" will be held July 18 (Friday) at 4:30 p.m. as one of the first events of the conference. The panelists will include John Parsley, executive editor at Little, Brown and Company in New York City, and literary agents Jim Donovan, Jim Hornfischer, David R. Patterson and BJ Robbins. They will discuss ideas that grab nonfiction book editors' attention, techniques for shaping those ideas into book proposals, how to prepare and sell a proposal on your own, or when you should approach a literary agent with an idea.

The 15-minute sessions for "Close Encounters of the Literary Kind" will take place the morning and afternoon of July 19 (Saturday). Donovan, Hornfischer, Patterson and Robbins will have individual meetings with conference participants. The coordinator for the writing contests will arrange all appointment times.

Fees of $50 are required in advance for both "Unveiling the Mystery" and "Close Encounters," which are only open to those who have registered for the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. The conference fee is $425. Registration is online and will close July 1 (Tuesday) or when the conference is full. The deadline for entering the writing contests is June 13 (Friday).

For more information about "Unveiling the Mystery" and "Close Encounters," or the writing contests, contact conference coordinator Sarah Wyman at 940-595-5508 or

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108