Keynote Speaker Preview: Q&A with Ashley C. Ford

ashley c fordWe’re pleased to welcome writer, editor, and speaker Ashley C. Ford to HippoCamp 2016. She’ll kick things off with her opening keynote, “Don’t Be a Hero.”

Ashley is writing a memoir and co-editing the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture with Roxane Gay. In addition to her work as a contributing writer at ELLE.Com, her essays and reviews have appeared in The Guardian, Slate, BuzzFeed, and various other web and print publications.

We asked her a few questions in preparation for her trip to Lancaster, Pa. in a few weeks.

HippoCamp: Tell us a little about what drew you to the personal essay, and maybe share with us a publication or two that you’re especially proud of.

Ashley: What initially drew me to essays was remembering who I was as a young reader, and what kind of reading would have most benefited her. I loved fiction and nonfiction, but I think I desired more nonfiction from women who looked and thought like me. Believe it or not, it’s hard to find writing from black queer women writers who hail from the Midwest. My first two publications were my proudest moments. As a college student, I had essays accepted into PANK Magazine and The Rumpus. Both made me cry from pride.


We don’t want to give too much away about your opening keynote, but please share with us a golden nugget that you hope attendees will take away from your talk that isn’t found on the program description.

Whatever kind of writer you’ve been so far, you can always become the writer you actually need to be.


What is your best advice for those attending a writing conference, whether it’s for newbies or veterans?

Talk to other attendees! You might find your new writing partner, new writing group, or maybe even just someone interesting to follow online.


Aside from kicking off the conference with your opening keynote, what you are most looking forward to about being part of the HippoCamp?

Seeing writers build community, learn more about their craft, and get serious about the writing life. But not too serious.


What’s on your personal conference agenda? Perhaps share with us a session/event you don’t want to miss.

Fiction Techniques in Memoir.


What are you most looking forward to about visiting Lancaster?

Adding it to the list of places being a writer/speaker has allowed me to see and get to know.