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. If you miss your perfect conference this year, you may be able to catch it next year. Many conferences are annual occurrences. Planning ahead may also lower the cost, as quite a few conferences offer scholarships and discounts for early bird registrations.
To see a full list of conferences organized by month, as well as links for finding conferences in your area throughout the year see: Writing Conferences.
13th annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. May 1 — May 7, 2017 at various locations in New York City. readings, performances, and panel discussions for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. “The thirteenth annual PEN World Voices Festival will take on some of the vital issues of the Trump-era, with a special focus on today’s restive relationship between gender and power. Taking place in New York City, May 1–7, 2017, the weeklong festival will use the lens of literature and the arts to confront new challenges to free expression and human rights — issues that have been core to PEN America’s mission since its founding. At this historic moment of both unprecedented attacks on core freedoms and the emergence of new forms of resistance, the Festival will offer a platform for a global community of writers, artists and thinkers to connect with concerned citizens and the broader public to fight back against bigotry, hatred and isolationism.”
Romance Times BookLovers. May 2–7, 2017, Atlanta, GA.
ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) Writers Conference, May 5–6, 2017. 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.
Northern Colorado Writers Conference. May 5–6, 2017, Fort Collins CO. The 2017 Northern Colorado Writers Conference will bring back some local favorites such as Laura Pritchett, Trai Cartwright, and Kerrie Flanagan, as well as welcome several new-to-NCW presenters such as Bob Mayer, Jessica Strawser, and Whitney Davis, and several new agents.
Idaho Writers Guild Conference. May 5–6, 2017, Boise, Idaho. Meet with agents, editors, and authors. Panel discussions, workshops, and a keynote speaker. Your registration — $195 for IWG members, $225 for non-members.
Gold Rush Writers Conference. May 5–7, 2017, Mokelumne Hill, CA. “Writing professionals will guide you to a publishing bonanza through a series of panels, specialty talks, workshops and celebrity lectures. Go one-on-one with successful poets, novelists, biographers, memoirists and short story writers.” Writing workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Children’s, Fiction, Marketing, Non-fiction, Poetry, Publishing, Romance, Travel, Young Adult.
The Massachusetts Poetry Festival. May 5 — May 7, 2017, Salem, Massachusetts. The Mass Poetry Festival offers nearly 100 poetry readings and workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, and open-air readings. More than 150 poets will engage with thousands of New Englanders.
Grub Street Muse and the Marketplace Conference. May 5 — May 7, 2017. Boston, Massachusetts. The Muse and the Marketplace is a three-day literary conference designed to give aspiring writers a better understanding about the craft of writing fiction and non-fiction, to prepare them for the changing world of publishing and promotion, and to create opportunities for meaningful networking. On all three days, prominent and nationally-recognized established and emerging authors lead sessions on the craft of writing — the “muse” side of things — while editors, literary agents, publicists and other industry professionals lead sessions on the business side — the “marketplace.”
Hedgebrook VORTEXT Salon. May 5–7, 2017: 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.
Columbus State Community College Writers Conference. May 6, 2017, Columbus, Ohio. Workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Business/Technical, Fiction, Journalism, Marketing, Non-fiction, Playwriting, Poetry, Publishing, Screenwriting. This one-day conference is free of charge.
DFW Writers Conference. May 6–7, 2017, Fort Worth TX. Featuring pitch sessions with literary agents, advanced classes, engaging panels, interactive workshops.
Writers Retreat Workshop. May 6–13, 2017, San Antonio, TX. Featuring Author and Instructor Lisa Cron (Wired for Story, Story Genuis), Thriller novelist Daniel Palmer (Delirious, Forgive Me, Mercy (with his late father Michael Palmer) ), Mystery and thriller author Reavis Wortham (Red River Mystery Series, and in 2017 Sonny Hawke series), Author and Instructor Les Edgerton (Bomb, Hooked (WD), The Bitch), Author, Instructor and Editor Carol Dougherty, Author, Instructor, Editor, and Program Director Jason Sitzes, and more agents, editors, and authors.
Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat. May 7–12, 2017 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.
Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp. May 7- 13, 2017: 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.
Crafting Successful Author Visits. May 7–12, 2017, Honesdale, PA. Peter Jacobi, journalism professor and former newsman for NBC and ABC, will coach you in the fundamentals of public speaking. Peter will teach the seven essential parts of speech writing as well as tips for audience engagement. Carmen Oliver and Jan Cheripko will advise you in the creation or revision of your presentation intended for a school audience. In addition to one-to-one feedback on your presentation, Jan and Carmen will accompany you to an on-site school visit during the workshop.
Writing the Unreal: The Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy & Speculative Fiction. May 7–14, 2017, Honesdale, PA. This unique workshop is designed for anyone with a complete or near-complete draft of a middle-grade or young adult novel in fantasy or speculative fiction who wants a thorough manuscript critique and help making plans for revision. WAITLISTED.
Lakefly Writers Conference. May 12–13, 2017: Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Workshops, talks, and a bookfair for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. Keynote speaker is Nickolas Butler. Many speakers and presenters.
Atlanta Writers Conference. May 12–13, 2017, Atlanta, GA. Featured Writers Include: Six acquisition editors from top publishing houses and six well-regarded literary agents, plus a workshop presenter from the publishing industry and successful, experienced authors, many of whom received their first publishing and/or representation contracts via the Atlanta Writers Conference.
Seaside Writers Conference. May 14–20, 2017: Seaside Assembly Hall in Seaside, 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.
Whole Novel Workshop: Historical Fiction. May 14–20, 2017, Honesdale, PA. This workshop provides novelists in middle grade or young adult historical fiction a complete review of their entire manuscript, along with tools for revision and practical tips from experts in the field. WAITLISTED.
Writing By Writers Methow Valley Workshop: May 17–21, 2017, Winthrop, WA. Faculty: faculty includes Ron Carlson, Ross Gay, Pam Houston and Lidia Yuknavitch. Tuition: $1,650 (before November 1) $1,750 (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. Alumni of the first Methow Valley Workshop in May 2016 will receive a $100 discount.
Nebula Conference and Awards Ceremony. May 18–21, 2017, Pittsburgh, PA.
Defining Your Voice. May 18–21, 2017, Honesdale, PA. As a reader, you know “voice” in an instant. It stands out. It rings true. It stays in your head. As a writer, you have a voice that is distinctively your own. It comes from within and without — inner conflicts, outside pressures, personal values, and your own particular views of the world infuse your work. You tell the stories that only you can tell. Join writer and editor Sharyn November to immerse yourself in rich examples of many writers’ voices as you work to develop your own.
Pennwriters Conference, May 19–21, 2017, Pittsburgh, PA. Friday evening keynote Jonathan Maberry; Saturday afternoon keynote Chuck Sambuchino; and 20+ authors, literary agents & editors, writing industry pros. Costs: $375 for 3-day registration. One-day registration available $185.
Austin SCBWI 2017 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. May 20–21, 2017, Austin, TX. Conference on children’s books with keynotes; general sessions; breakout sessions for writing, professional development and illustration; intensives for novels, picture books and illustration; critiques; pitches and more. Faculty: Editors Kendra Levin (Penguin Random House), Melissa Manlove (Chronicle) Agents Linda Camacho (Prospect), Stefanie Von Borstel (Full Circle) Art Director Giuseppe Castellano (PRH). Authors Kathi Appelt, Coe Booth, more. Author/illustrator.
Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers. May 22–26, 2017, Houston, Texas. Featured Writers Include: Fiction: Bill Broun (Night of the Animals); Nonfiction: Lea Lax (Uncovered); Poetry: Hayan Charara (Something Sinister, The Sadness of Others, and The Alchemist’s Diary). Application deadline: MAY 1st.
Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference. May 26–27, 2017: Wyndham University Center in Pittsburgh. 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.
Connecting Writers with Hollywood. May 26–27, 2017, Spokane, WA. CWWH is a writers conference where writers and screenwriters can pitch their material directly to film agents and producers. It is a weekend of education, panels and pitch sessions. Faculty: Chuck Palahniuk (!), Brian Bird, Mel Eslyn, Mark Steilen, Mike Dill, Megan Griffiths, Kim Hornsby, Nikki Navarre, Heather Morado.
Balticon 51. May 26–29, 2017, Baltimore, MD. Balticon is sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS). BSFS presents the Compton Crook Award, the Robert A. Heinlein Award, and the winner of the annual Jack L. Chalker Young Writer’s Contest annually at this event. Faculty: Eric Flint as Guest of Honor. Multiple tracks of Programming over the four day weekend, featuring authors, artists, scientists, musicians, podcasters, publishers, editors, costumers and other creative SF luminaries.
The Personal is Always Political with Melissa Febos. May 26–30, 2017, Austerlitz NY. What is the role of the personal writer in this new political landscape? It has always been the job of writers to engage in conversation with the world, but in times of national upheaval, this job is more urgent than ever. In this generative workshop, we will explore methods of bringing our personal stories more explicitly into a political context.
Capturing the Unexpected: Beginning Your Novel — Right. May 28 — June 3, 2017, Honesdale, PA. The experiences of National Book Award-winning editor Patricia Lee Gauch will drive this spirited workshop on getting your novel off to a great start. Through dialog and activities, writers will gain vivid strategies with which to build their middle-grade or young adult novels into truly original narratives with rich characterization, surprising depth, and real emotional power. Daily exercises, long and short, will focus on writers’ diction and style, character development, the driving force of attitude, and voice. During the five days, participants will develop a draft of two short stories or chapters with which they can begin a long work of fiction. Class is limited to eight participants. Applications for this workshop should include a two-page sample of writing. WAITLISTED.
North Words Writers Symposium: May 31 — June 3, 2017, Skagway, Alaska. Faculty: Keynote author Paul Theroux. Alaskan authors include: John Straley, Sherry Simpson, Tom Kizzia, Deb Vanesse, Andy Hall, Lenore Bell. Costs: $375 includes most meals. College credit extra for $90.
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