19 Writing Conferences in May 2016

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Writing conferences offer so much to writers — master classes, opportunities to talk to authors, pitch sessions with agents, as well as workshops covering every aspect of writing and publishing. In addition, you get to share experiences with other writers — in the flesh! (Nothing beats actual face-to-face contact.)

If you can find the time to attend a conference, you won’t regret it.

Note: For a month-by-month listing of conferences, as well as how to find upcoming conferences in your area, see Writing Conferences.


Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat. May 1–6, 2016 in Waialua, Hawaii at Camp Mokulē‘ia, Oahu. Offers workshops in fiction and nonfiction, readings, one-on-one consultations, publishing panels, yoga sessions. The retreat is led by North Shore native Constance Hale, the author of Sin and Syntax, the editor of more than two dozen books, and a journalist whose stories about Hawai‘i appear on CD liner notes, as well as in publications like The Los Angeles Times and Smithsonian magazine. Hale invites a mix of writers, editors, and agents from both the islands and the mainland to lead various workshops and appear on panels.

Writing By Writers Methow Valley Workshop: May 4–8, 2016, Winthrop, WA. Faculty: Andre Dubus III, Ron Carlson, Pam Houston, Lidia Yuknavitch. Tuition: $1,450 (before November 1) $1,550 (after November 1) includes one four-day workshop, admittance to all panels and readings, and all meals (dinner on Wednesday; three meals Thursday through Saturday; breakfast and lunch on Sunday) and lodging for four nights.

Windsor International Writers Conference, Canada: May 5–8, 2016, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Faculty: Sheryl WuDunn, Tara Beagan, Lev Raphel, Yale Strom, Tracy Beckerman, Marcia Fine, Carol McAdoo Rehme, Suzette Martinez Standring, Nick Cutter, Brian Henry, Andrew Pyper, Rick Sykes and over a dozen agents and publishing firms. Registration includes most meals, Meet and Greet reception: $400.00; At door: $600.00; Pre-conference intensive round-tables: $125.00; Post-conference Screenplay master class with Elliot Grove: $125.00.

Idaho Writers Guild Pitchfest: May 7th, 2016, Boise, Idaho. “Four outstanding literary agents will be in Boise taking your pitches. Your registration — $150 for IWG members, $195 for non-members — provides you two, 10-minute, 1-on-1 pitches. You’ll also enjoy insider panel discussions and an exciting keynote speaker at our IWG Writing Contest Awards Luncheon. You may meet all the presenters in person at an exclusive cocktail reception on Friday evening, May 6th.”

Life in the Spotlight: Author Opportunities After Publication: May 10–13, 2016, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. “It’s for the published author to determine how much time and energy should be invested in selling self and product, but if the most is to be made of a book and author in the marketplace, then personal efforts must follow that publication date. This workshop not only introduces the participants to publicity techniques and the fine points needed to create fruitful relationships with the media, but it offers instruction, practice, and a real-life school experience for each enrollee in the development of public speaking and presentation skills.”

Writers Retreat Workshop 2016: May 12–19, 2016, San Antonio, TX. Featuring Joe Lansdale (Edgar Award, 8 Bram Stoker Awards); author/instructor Les Edgerton, author/instructor Arianne “Tex” Thompson, author/instructor Jason Sitzes, editor-in-residence/instructor Carol Dougherty and agents/editors.

Lakefly Writers Conference. May 13–14, 2016: Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Workshops, talks, and a bookfair for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. Keynote speaker is Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, author of “The Missing Kennedy Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women.” Many speakers and presenters.

Big Sur on Cape Cod: May 13–15, 2016, North Falmouth MA. Faculty: Andrea Brown and four of her agents, four editors and four authors.

Chicago Writing Workshop, May 14, 2016, Chicago, IL. “This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 14, 2016, at the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, just south of the downtown area. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.” Features over two dozen attending agents.

Seaside Writers Conference. May 14–21, 2016: Seaside Assembly Hall in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. “The Seaside Writers Conference is an annual gathering of creative writers from all over the nation, and features award-winning writers in poetry and fiction and screenwriting who will offer a full week of intensive writing workshops, one day seminars, school outreach programs, and social events.” Many authors, agents, editors.

Writing Jewish-Themed Children’s Books: May 15–18, 2016, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. “A hands-on workshop specifically designed for writers of Jewish-themed content. Whether your manuscript has slight or overwhelming Jewish content, this is the workshop for you. Unlike a one-day conference, this workshop includes one-on-one manuscript critiques with a literary agent or editor and time to revise. There’ll also be two group critiques.”

Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp. May 15–21, 2016: West Bend WI. 6-day, residential workshop-retreat for writers in all genres working on a novel or creative nonfiction book. Workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Publishing, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult. Registration is limited to 30 people.

Novels in Verse — More than a Novel, More than Poetry: May 21–25, 2016, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. “The Novel in Verse Workshop offers writers the rare opportunity to have the entire draft of a novel read and critiqued. At the workshop, you’ll get a letter with overall comments as well as a marked-up manuscript. (Depending how far in advance you submit your novel, you may receive the letter and manuscript beforehand.) We’ll discuss the letter and manuscript in person at the workshop where we can get your feedback and we can explain our suggestions to help you make your novel what it wants to be.” Please note: application deadline is April 25, 2016.

ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) Writers Conference, May 20 — May 21, 2016. NYC, NY. Focus on Autobiography/Memoir, Business/Technical, Humor, Journalism, Marketing, Nature, Non-fiction, Publishing, Religion, Screenwriting, Travel. Attending: more than 100 editors, authors, literary agents, and publicists.

Pennwriters Conference, May 20–22, 2016, Pittsburgh, PA. Friday evening keynote Jonathan Maberry; Saturday afternoon keynote Kathryn Craft; and 20+ authors, literary agents & editors, writing industry pros. Costs: $300 for 3-day registration. One-day registration available (price TBD)

Hedgebrook VORTEXT Salon. May 20–22, 2016: Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, about 35 miles northwest of Seattle. Workshops, panel discussions, lectures, open mics, and time to write in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for women writers.

Spring Writing Intensive: May 21, 2016, Annapolis MD. “In this one-day writing intensive, participants will have the opportunity to join other writers for a day devoted to writing instruction, discovery, and inspiration. Working under the guidance of award-winning authors, attendees may select four workshops from seven choices. By choosing from a menu of craft options that will include memoir, fiction, nonfiction, and publishing advice, participants will select the subjects that address their most challenging writing issues and will leave armed with new skills, understanding, and motivation. All levels are welcome.” Tuition: $175.

North Words Writers Symposium: May 25–28, 2016, Skagway, Alaska. Faculty: Keynote author Brian Doyle — Portland, Oregon novelist/essayist/editor. Alaskan authors include: Kim Heacox, Eowyn Ivey, Heather Lende, Lynn Schooler, John Straley, and Emily Wall. Costs: $375 includes most meals. College credit extra for $90.

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference. May 27–29, 2016: Wyndham University Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Master classes, craft discussions, publishing talks, pitch sessions, and readings for creative nonfiction writers. In just three days you can meet one-on-one with a literary agent or publishing consultant, get concrete advice from professional writers, hear what different kinds of editors are looking for, and hone your skills in an inspiring small-group session. You’ll also meet and mingle with writers from across the country who share your excitement about the writing process.

Originally published at publishedtodeath.blogspot.com on April 26, 2016.

Erica Verrillo has published five books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on how to get an agent, lists agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, explains how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and where to find markets for your work on Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity.

Helping writers get published and bolstering their flagging spirits at http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/

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