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Norah Jones, Oscar winners, bestsellers headlining Hawaii Writers Conference


Norah_Jones_Hawaii_Writers_ConferenceThe Maui Writers Conference is now the Hawaii Writers Conference, and it’s bringing in Norah Jones for a private concert.

Don’t worry. The annual week-long conference will still host its usual handful of New York Times bestselling authors, Academy Award-winning screenwriters and big time agents, editors and publishers, too. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jones will be on hand to headline the conference’s first Writers Block Party fundraiser on September 4, 2009, at the Sheraton Waikiki.

The Hawaii Writers Conference is anchoring all events—except for Ms. Jones’s concert—at the newly renovated and reopened Royal Hawaiian hotel, from Sept. 4 to 7. It also adopts the more fitting "Hawaii Writers Conference" as its new name, abandoning the oddball “Maui Writers Conference On the Road” moniker it took last year.

Launched in 1993 at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, the Maui Writers Conference took up residence at the Grand Wailea Resort & Spa and Wailea Marriott before moving to Oahu last year hoping to increase attendance. The move and name change appear permanent.

Self-billed as the world’s largest writer’s conference—with more than 1,000 attendees annually—the event’s biggest draw for aspiring authors and screenwriters has generally been the opportunity to meet and consult with some of the industry’s biggest names.

Well-known authors and screenwriters, agents, editors and publishers often present the conference’s schedule of writer workshops, panel presentations and keynote lectures. Past guest presenters at the conference have included Carl Bernstein, Frank McCourt, Ron Howard, Carrie Fisher and Aaron Sorkin.

This year’s list of presenters looks promising, as well: Mitch Albom (author, Tuesdays with Morrie), Gregory Maguire (author, Wicked), Jaquelyn Mitchard (author, The Deep End of the Ocean), Diana Ossana (screenwriter, Brokeback Mountain), Michael Arndt (screenwriter, Little Miss Sunshine), to name a few.

Proceeds raised from the Writers Block Party with Norah Jones will benefit the Hawaii Writers Foundation, which is the HWC's founding organization, and its young writers scholarship program. The party's dinner menu will be designed and guided by Hawaii chef, restaurateur and best-selling cookbook writer Roy Yamaguchi.

For a full list of Hawaii Writers Conference presenters, scheduled events, registration and more information on the Writers Block Party with Norah Jones, click here.

Photo: Danny Clinch/Blue Note Records

UPDATE, 9/1/2009: The Norah Jones concert fundraiser, originally scheduled for Sept. 4, was canceled today. The Hawaii Writers Conference is still set for Sept. 4-7.



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