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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted at 1:19 p.m., Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Maui Writers Conference has new name, new home

The Maui News

WAILEA The annual Maui Writers Conference will take on a new name and new home this year as organizers move the popular event to Oahu, The Maui News reported.

Now dubbed the "Maui Writers Conference on the Road," the retreat and conference will be held at locations throughout Waikiki from Aug. 22 to Sept. 1. Organizers say the move is due largely to overwhelming demand and expect this year's event to be the biggest to date.

"It's a huge event, so we wanted to give more people in Hawaii a chance to enjoy it," said Maui Writers Conference Director John Tullius, who along with his wife, Shannon Tullius, created the event in 1993. "The numbers involved are definitely going to go up. In the past, we've usually had about 1,000 people, and this year we could double that."

In addition to increasing participation, Tullius expects the move also will raise the overall quality of the event.

"We're sad to leave Maui, but it's going to be a great opportunity for even more people in Hawaii," he said. "There are many more opportunities (on Oahu), a lot more sponsorships, more writers and local publishers; so I think from that point of view there are a lot of advantages to moving it."

Tullius added that travel to Oahu will be cheaper for many Mainland participants, citing more flight options into Honolulu and lower hotel rates. He also expected the new location to attract more Oahu residents.

"There have been so many people on Oahu who wanted to come, but it can be a real financial burden for them," Tullius said.

The conference includes a full schedule of workshops, panel presentations, keynote speakers and networking opportunities. Participants also may sign up for professional consultations with agents, editors and publishers.

Last year's roster included Academy Award-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Buzz Bissinger ("Friday Night Lights"), New York Times best-selling author Luanne Rice ("Crazy in Love") and other well-known writers, plus numerous agents and editors.

"We'll have the same programs and so forth, but we're simply moving it to this new venue," Shannon Tullius said.

The pre-conference retreat will be hosted by the Outrigger Reef and Embassy Suites, and conference activities will be at the Hawai'i Convention Center and Ala Moana Hotel.

The Maui Writers Conference started at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, then moved to the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, and most recently was held at what is now the Wailea Marriott Resort.

Those on the conference mailing list were notified of the change, although specific details still are being worked out.

"The change is definitely happening, but we just don't know some of the specifics just yet," John Tullius said.

Another undecided detail is whether the event will remain on Oahu in the coming years.

"We'll see how it develops over there and decide whether or not we'll continue holding it on Oahu," said Shannon Tullius. "We're going to miss Maui, but it's also a good change for right now."

For details, visit www.maui writers.com.

For more Maui news, visit The Maui News.