2023 AHCD SpringFest

Presents the 2024…

What’s in Your Backyard: Exploring Florida through the Arts


In 2021, the former Festival of Music, Film, Literature, and Art expanded to include the Seahawk Writing Conference, a free, one-day event where writers from Broward College and the community came together virtually for workshops and craft talks.

The first year was about showing up. The words, creativity, and inspiration are sometimes hard to come by, but when the time and space are set aside when we show up with the intention to put in the work, the sometimes elusive Muse sees our efforts, and the words come.

The second year was about writing ourselves in. Over the past few years, we have called out and named the injustices and chaos surrounding us. With this upcoming conference, let’s call out what we want to see. Let’s come together to write ourselves in and become our own heroes, our own protagonists in the life unfolding before us.

The third year under the umbrella of SpringFest, we are asking our participants to own their creativity, listen to the impulse that beats inside of them and allow it to play out in ways that they might not have imagined.

This year we invite all genres and creative minds to participate in the conference to cultivate their crafts. 


We look forward to seeing you on Friday, March 22, 2024.

Students, staff, faculty, and community members are welcome to join us. Writers of all levels and genres should not miss this free event.

9:00 AM – 9:20 AM

Welcome Session

  • Introduction to the conference
  • Overview of the schedule

Session 1 | 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Finding Home Inside Your Mind: Creating a Sense of Peace and Place Through Writing

Hosted by: Naylet Leon

Attendants will be shown pictures of different places throughout Florida as visual prompts.  They will brainstorm writing based on these prompts to make them explore their own sense of place and home.  Then, after the brainstorming session, participants will engage in a pair and share activity to discuss how these places provide a sense of home to them or remind them of places from their childhood.  The last part will be an open mic where participants will be allowed to read their writing prompts.

Session 2 | 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

Sunshine States: Florida and the Weird

Hosted by: Allison Noelle Conner

In popular culture, Florida is often portrayed as a place where the weird, the strange, and the kitschy thrive. From alligators and hurricanes to Disney World and strip malls, the images associated with the state often imagine a landscape where fantasy and danger collide. They also present a cartoon version of the state, one that veers away from the more complicated histories and narratives. As Kristen Arnett writes, “This state is invasive, creeping, needy…You fight for the right to live in its greenery, and once you’ve finally carved out a space, you stay tangled in the wreck.” What makes Florida so weird? In this workshop, we’ll trace out a guide to the surreal and odd from writers who know the state best, including Zora Neale Hurston, Jeff Vandermeer, Laura van den Berg plus others. Across crime stories, ecofiction, and the gothic, we’ll explore how writers use the landscape of Florida to tackle larger issues around belonging, climate change, migration, grief, injustice and more. 

Writing Your Family History in Poetry & Prose 

Hosted by: Elisa Albo

So much of who we are is based on our past, upbringing, families and histories. Making art, such as writing, allows one to mine this rich vein of material for personal knowledge, identity, expression, healing, communication, and communion with family, whatever form family may take for you, including our present ones as well as our ancestors. In this workshop, professor, editor and poet Elisa Albo will present a number of poems, short prose pieces, and prompts that will allow participants to explore their connections with family via their own histories, inheritances, and stories.  Participants are encouraged to “bring” artifacts, such as “old” family photos, milestone documents, letters, a beloved book, or a meaningful object or image, to help them generate their own prose or poetic responses in a friendly and welcoming workshop format.

Session 3 | 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Fizzle and Flail: Reframing Failure When Writing in Florida

Hosted by: Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello (Keynote Speaker)

Life rarely happens exactly the way we envision. Sometimes it turns out better. Or worse. Or somehow both at the same time. The same goes for writing. In the 2024 Seahawk Writing Conference Keynote, author and translator Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello shares how she arrived in Florida through a series of literary failures, and how she discovered success by writing about Florida without really writing about Florida. Readings of her work will be woven throughout the talk, followed by an audience Q&A.

Session 4 | 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Happy Hour & Reading

In celebration of a day well spent, bring your favorite dessert, and join everyone for a reading. Attendees and facilitators can share their work either previously written or inspired by today’s events.