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Creative writing ‘Imaginarium Convention’ lands in Louisville this weekend

Vendors at the 2021 Imaginarium Convention.
Molly Daniels
Vendors at the 2021 Imaginarium Convention.

A convention for writers of all kinds – and their fans – is in Louisville this weekend.

Now in its ninth year, the Imaginarium Convention is a three-day event featuring programming like panel discussions, workshops, a film festival, live music and cosplay. It focuses on creative writing.

“By writing, I mean, all forms of writing: writing, not just for books, but also for screenplays, game development, songwriting, all the different spheres of writing,” founder and executive director Stephen Zimmer told WFPL News.

Zimmer said the convention builds on the idea that “imagination is at the root of anything innovative.”

“From scientific invention, to creativity, everything starts at the foundation of the imagination.”

Co-director and organizer Holly Phillippe added that it’s a good opportunity for creative professionals to “come together to network, to learn from each other.”

“We've got people just starting out writing or in film, and then we've got people that are best-selling authors, filmmakers from LA,” she said. “That's what the great thing is about Imaginarium.”

The weekend’s “guest of honor” is fiction editor Ellen Datlow, who has edited science fiction, fantasy and horror for decades for publications like OMNI Magazine.

Other prominent guests and speakers include “Walking Dead” actor Santiago Cirilo and Kentucky author Virginia Smith.

Phillippe said there will also be ample programming dedicated to romance and mystery writing. 

And this year’s convention will see the “biggest participation ever by game developers,” which is an area they’ve focused on growing the past few years. 

“Whether we're talking video games, or tabletop, role-playing games, from the writing of modules for game systems, the writing of the rules and guidebooks… also writing the scripts and scenarios, writing is very much a part of all those things within the game world,” Zimmer said. 

People don't need to be professional writers to come. 

“The rich content is there, but it’s also fun,” he said. “And we found that people [who] aren’t necessarily a professional writer or filmmaker, if they’re just like a fan, they have plenty that fascinates them.”

The Imaginarium Convention runs Friday through Sunday at the Holiday Inn Louisville East.