Conferences are not only the best way to meet agents, get tips from other writers, and learn about the publishing industry, they make you feel like a writer. We all need community, and this is how we, as writers, get the necessary incentive to keep writing.
All of these conferences and workshops charge tuition, but some offer financial assistance. There are deadlines for applying for aid, so make sure you plan ahead.
For a month-by-month list of conferences throughout the year see: Writing Conferences. (You will also find links to resources that can help you find conferences in your area on that page.)
Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference. March 4–7, 2020: San Antonio, TX. “The AWP Conference & Bookfair is an essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers. Each year more than 12,000 attendees join our community for four days of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access to the organizations and opinion-makers that matter most in contemporary literature. The 2016 conference featured over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures. The bookfair hosted over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world. AWP’s is now the largest literary conference in North America.”
Alabama Writing Workshop. March 6, 2020: Birmingham, Alabama. “A one-day writing workshop full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We will also have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well.”
Bay to Ocean Writers Conference. Wye Mills, Maryland, March 7, 2020. Sponsored by the Eastern Shore Writers Association. “The BTO conference features workshops, presentations, and panel discussions on a wide variety of topics pertaining to the craft of writing, publishing, marketing, the Internet, and the intricacies of particular genres. It is an opportunity to meet with many writing peers in the region. Speakers include accomplished authors, poets, film writers, writing instructors, editors, and publishers. BTO also offers one-on-one manuscript reviews with experienced writing instructors and editors for registered attendees for a fee.”
Minnesota Writers Workshop. March 7, 2020: St. Paul, MN. This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront. 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.
Atlanta Writing Workshop, March 7, 2020, Atlanta, GA. “This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop. 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.”
Redrock Creative Writing Seminar. March 7, 2020: St. George, Utah. Classes and readings in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The faculty includes Bryan Hyde, Krysten Decke, and Rob Carney.
Orion in the Wilderness. March 7 -14, 2020: Portal, AZ. The Orion in the Wilderness retreat, cosponsored by the Omega Institute, will be held at the American Museum of Natural History’s Southwestern Research Station in Cave Creek Canyon in Portal, Arizona, surrounded by the Chiricahua Mountains, known for its abundant bird life and hiking trails. The retreat includes workshops, readings, lectures, manuscript consultations with faculty, presentations on local ecology and lore, and optional birding and hikes for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. The faculty includes poet Sherwin Bitsui and fiction and nonfiction writers Joe Wilkins and Joy Williams. The cost of the conference, which includes tuition, lodging, and meals, ranges from $1,100 to $1,900, depending on lodging. Using only the online application system, submit up to six poems or up to 1,500 words of prose by February 1.
Algonkian Novel Retreat, Sterling. Virginia, March 11–15, 2020. “In keeping with the spirit of this place and the goals of this retreat, you can be as goal-oriented or as hesitant in approach as you wish. You can show us your manuscript, improve your skills, clear your head, have your work read by our writer mentors, whatever works for you, whatever helps you grow and discover your vision as a writer. You discuss with us ahead of time via the Algonkian Writer Retreat Application the goals you wish to accomplish, and we’ll work with you to make it happen. Do you desire a review of your short stories or flash fiction? A line edit? Do you wish to discuss the reality of the current fiction market, your novel project, plot and characters, or perhaps get feedback on the opening hook or a few sample chapters? Or would you simply like a relaxed and productive dialogue about your goals as a writer?” Registration is first come, first served.
Write Stuff Writers Conference. March 12–14, 2020: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 20 workshops, Agent./Editor pitch sessions, marketing consults plus lunch and Keynote address, Book Fair, Flash Literature Writing Contest, Door Prizes. Featuring Jonathan Dylan Barker.
Springmingle ’20 and Illustrators’ Day. Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators. Homewood, AL, March 13 -14, 2020. Conference for children’s book writers and illustrators. Faculty includes writers, illustrators, agents, editors, and publishers.
Writing By Writers Boulder Generative Workshop. March 13 — March 15, 2020, Boulder, Colorado. Lectures, craft talks, writing exercises and class discussions. Each participant will have the opportunity to work in a small group setting with all three faculty members.
Get Away to Write. March 15–20, 2020: New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Spend an inspiring week working on your memoir or poetry. Enjoy plentiful writing time, insightful feedback, homemade meals and time to relax. Workshops and faculty: TBA
Virginia Festival of the Book, March 18–21, 2020. “The Festival is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and has attracted audiences of more than 20,000 for each of the past thirteen years. We have presented a captivating list of authors, ranging from international bestsellers to topical specialists to debut authors.” Book exhibits, talks by authors, readings, workshops on book promotion, finding an agent, poetry, publishing, agents roundtable — you name it, this conference has it.
The Furious Flower Poetry Center Collegiate Summit. March 19 -21, 2020. Harrisonburg, VA. Open to undergraduate and graduate students from any college or university program, this three-day summit invites participants to explore how poetry reaches across geographical borders and beyond conventional literary and ideological boundaries. This year’s summit attendees will explore the theme of “Power, Presence, and Performance” through workshops, panels, and discussions that examine ways of engaging audiences and maximizing the reach and impact of their words. The registration fee is $50 per person. Registration is open until full.
Algonkian Writers New York Pitch Conference, March 19–22, 2020: NY, NY. “The event focuses on the art of the novel pitch as the best method not only for communicating your work, but for having you and your work taken seriously by industry professionals. More importantly though, it is also a diagnostic method for workshopping the plot, premise, and other elements of the story to determine quality and marketability. Simply put, you cannot successfully pitch a viable commercial novel if you don’t have a viable commercial novel. Our goal, therefore, is to set you on a realistic path to publication.”
Power of Narrative. March 20–21, 2020: Boston, MA. Over 30 journalists, directors, producers and editors lead three days of lively discussions geared to advance the knowledge of narrative storytellers. Approximately 500 persons attend. Early registration is encouraged.
Authors’ Salon at Clockwork Alchemy. March 20–22, 2020: Burlingame, California. Clockwork Alchemy is the San Francisco area’s own steampunk convention. Originally a part of FanimeCon, Clockwork Alchemy is now its own independent event celebrating music, makers, dancing, writing, crafting, fashion, and fun related to steampunk!
Colrain One-Day Retreat: What is a Poetry Manuscript? March 21, 2020, Barred Owl Retreat, Leicester, Massachusetts.The Colrain One-Day Informational Retreat is designed for poets who wish to learn the basics of a poetry manuscript before submitting to presses and/or applying to the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference. In a small group (8–10 poets) team-led by two seasoned Colrain Poetry Manuscript facilitators.
University of North Dakota Writers Conference. March 25–27, 2020: Grand Forks, North Dakota. Founded in 1970 and held every year since, the UND Writers Conference is a three day event featuring six to eight authors annually. Authors ranging from Gwendolyn Brooks and August Wilson to Tommy Orange and Colson Whitehead, the UND Writers Conference is committed to community outreach, engagement, and finding ways to increase audience access to literature. The conference is free, but workshop space is limited to twenty participants; registration is first come, first served.
Beall Poetry Festival. March 25–27, 2020, Waco, TX. The festival features readings, panel discussions, and the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry. Participating poets include Forrest Gander, Layli Long Soldier, Evie Shockley, Meghan O’Rourke, and a Poetry Panel. All events are free and open to the public.
35th Annual National Undergraduate Literature Conference. March 25 — March 28, 2020: Weber State University, Ogden, UT. “Each year, nearly 200 undergraduate writers and poets throughout North America, and sometimes beyond, come to Weber State University to present their work and learn from some of the most important writers in contemporary literature.”
Diverse Communities and the Writer’s Voice sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium’s Writers’ Community and the Moravian College Writers’ Conference. March 26–27, 2020: Bethlehem, PA. Keynote speaker: Daisy Hernandez. Plus additional workshops and a writers’ roundtable featuring area writers on Friday, March 27. FREE
2020 National Black Writers Conference. March 26–29, 2020, Brooklyn, NY. “Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads” is a public gathering of writers, scholars, literary professionals, performers, students and the general public. “Over the last decade, we have seen an increase in the writing and works by Black playwrights, screenwriters, and scriptwriters. These writers, at a crossroad, are focused on breaking new ground; creating bold new work in theater, film, and television; and expanding the narrative of the Black experience in America and throughout the African Diaspora. During this year’s four-day conference, panelists and special guests will examine the ways race, identity, politics, and popular culture shape the production of plays, films, and television shows. The conference features roundtable conversations, panel discussions, a town hall, film screenings, author readings, writing workshops, and more.”
Sleuthfest. March 26–29, 2020: Boca Raton, FL. Sponsored by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America a conference for writers and fans. Features writing workshops, social events, and pitch sessions, including:
* Agent Appointments to pitch your finished work
* Critiques of your 10 page manuscript submission
* Forensic track with current forensic techniques & hands-on workshops
* Social events to mingle with agents, editors and your favorite authors
* Auction to purchase critiques of your work by bestselling authors
* Sessions on the craft of writing
* Sessions on marketing and promoting your work
* Practice your Pitch sessions with experienced authors
The Work Retreat. March 27–29, 2020: Dedham, MA. “The Work Retreat is designed for authors of fiction and narrative non-fiction, whose works-in-progress are intended for traditional publication. Participants will workshop up to 50 pages of a WIP in a series of supportive, constructive, small-group sessions led by an editor or agent, and you’ll meet one-on-one with your workshop leader, too. All-faculty panel discussions on topics of craft, revision and industry give participants a chance to hear from and engage with all our experts. You’ll have plenty of time to write throughout the weekend, and the sprawling mansion and estate provide ample space to find your perfect writing nook.”
Kansas Writing Workshop. March 28, 2020: Kansas City, MO. “This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at the Hampton Inn & Suites Kansas City Country Club Plaza. 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.”
Western Reserve Writers’ Conference. March 28, 2020, South Euclid, Ohio. This free one-day writing conference takes place at Cuyahoga County Public Library’s William N. Skirball Writers’ Center, located in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch library. It features a choice of breakout sessions, a keynote address, and private sessions with editors.
Meet the Publishers! March 28, 2020:Tulsa, OK. Meet different publishers, traditional to self-published, magazines, newspapers, etc. Learn what they are looking for and how the industry is changing. FREE.
Maryland Writers Association: Brain to Bookshelf. March 28 — March 29, 2020: College Park, MD. “The Brain to Bookshelf conference offers over 20 workshops, several intensive sessions, for more detailed learning along with agents presenting panels, hearing pitches and providing critiques. Agent slots are limited, so register early.”
Like this article? For more articles about the publishing world, useful tips on how to get an agent, agents who are looking for clients, how to market and promote your work, building your online platform, how to get reviews, self-publishing, as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers (no agent required) visit Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity.