In addition to the national and regional events, there are also a number of smaller venues offering an intimate day or two of workshops and readings. In all cases, writing conferences are memorable, instructive, and inspiring events. I encourage every writer to attend one.
Omega Institute Poetry Festival. July 5 - 10, Rhinebeck, New York. Readings and workshops led by poets Nick Flynn, Marie Howe, Li-Young Lee, Alison Luterman, and Aja Monet.
Idyllwild Arts Summer Program Writers Week. July 6 - 11, Idyllwild, California. Workshops, craft talks, readings, and one-on-one consultations in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Faculty includes poets Natalie Diaz, Luis J. Rodriguez, and Ed Skoog; fiction writer Samantha Dunn; and nonfiction writer Amy Friedman. Guest writers include poets Victoria Chang and Matthew Dickman, nonfiction writer Sandra Tsing Loh, and critic David Ulin.
Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers. July 6 - 12, Wallowa Lake, Oregon. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as panel discussions, readings, and open mics. The theme for the 2015 conference is “Hidden From History: Stories We Haven’t Heard, Stories We Haven’t Told.” Faculty includes poets Sherwin Bitsui and Allison Hedge Coke; fiction writers Karen Fisher, Craig Lesley, Jan Vandenburgh, and Erika T. Wurth; and nonfiction writers Tom Kizzia, Page Lambert, and Robert Michael Pyle.
ThrillerFest X. July 7–11, New York. This is the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers. The ThrillerFest conference has four main components: Master CraftFest, CraftFest, PitchFest, and ThrillerFest. Master CraftFest was designed as an educational tool for aspiring writers as well as debut and midlist authors to gain advanced training from the masters of the craft in an intimate, day-long training session. CraftFest was designed for all writers to learn from bestselling authors and subject experts who kindly offer their advice and assistance to advance attendees’ writing techniques and further their careers. PitchFest was designed to match writers with agents, editors, publishers, and producers.ThrillerFest, the final two days of the conference, is intended to offer readers a chance to meet the best authors in the industry and be introduced to debut and midlist authors. Expect innovative panels, spotlight interviews, and workshops to educate and inspire.
Centrum Port Townsend Writers’ Conference. July 9 -19, Port Townsend, Washington. workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft lectures, readings, open mics, and time to write. The faculty includes poets Kim Addonizio, Erin Belieu, Gary Copeland Lilley, Jimmy Kimbrell, and Joseph Stroud; fiction writers Claire Davis, Skip Horack, and Pam Houston; and creative nonfiction writers Lisa Norris and Luis Urrea.
The Summer Writers Institute at Washington University. July 10 - 24, St. Louis MO. An intensive, two-week program featuring workshops with experienced instructors and published authors. Writers also benefit from readings, craft talks, and individual conferences with instructors. Faculty includes Stefan Merrill Block, Fiction; Heather McPherson, Modern Humor; David Schuman, Flash Fiction; Kent Shaw, Poetry; Kathleen Finneran and Deborah Taffa, Pers. Narrative; Richard Chapman, Screenwriting; Colin Bassett, Lit. Journalism; Mary Jo Bang, Keynote.
Antioch Writers' Workshop. July 11 - 17, Yellow Springs, Ohio. morning classes and afternoon seminars in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry for all levels of writers--beginning to advanced. The workshop includes opportunities to give readings, receive professional critiques, interact with faculty, and meet with a visiting agent. We also offer "a la carte" options for writers to attend only the morning classes, only the beginning writers' afternoon seminar, or a one-day Saturday Seminar. Faculty: Lee Martin (keynoter and morning fiction); Dinty W. Moore (morning non-fiction); Cathy Smith Bowers (morning poetry.) Afternoon seminar faculty includes Sherri Wood Emmons, Cathy Essinger, Roxane Gay, Matthew Goodman, Gregoy Belliveau, Jeffrey Ford, and others. Visiting agents Suzie Townsend (New Leaf Literary) and Hannah Brown Gordon (Foundry Literary + Media). A la carte registration closes on July 7.
PNWA Conference. July 16 - 19, Seattle, Washington, Sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. More than 50 seminars, editor/agent forums & appointments, practice pitching, keynote and featured speakers, reception, awards ceremony. Many agents and editors attending.
Green River Writers Workshops:Turning Memory into Story: Memoir Writing Workshop. July 16 - 19, Las Vegas, New Mexico. Using memory as a starting point, Green River Writers Workshops focus on the craft of storytelling through memoir, fiction, historical writing, and poetry. Both experienced and beginning writers are welcome. Faculty: Gerald Hausman, Loretta Hausman, Alice Winston Carney.
Stonecoast Writers’ Conference. July 19 - 25, Portland, ME. Workshops in poetry, short fiction, novel, and nonfiction/memoir, and a mixed-genre Creative Writing Bootcamp. The Stonecoast Writers’ Conference is open to students of all experience levels. However, admission is selective. Writing sample and deposit required.
Writing the Rockies. July 22 - 25, Gunnison, Colorado. Workshops, readings, panels, seminars and other events in poetry, genre fiction, screenwriting and publishing. One-to-one visits with faculty for critiques & pitches. Sponsored by Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Western State Colorado University. Faculty includes Poetry: Fred Turner, Kim Bridgford, Dave Mason, Emily Grosholz, Marilyn Taylor, Tom Cable, many more. Screenwriting: JS Mayank, Genre Fiction: Russell Davis, Michaela Roessner, Diana Tixier Herald Publishing: Caleb Seeling, Larry Meredith.
Midwest Writers Workshop. July 23 - 25, Muncie, Indiana. Craft and business sessions, agent pitches, manuscript evaluations. Numerous authors, agents, editors, and publicists attending.
Agent, Editor, Authors Critiques & Pitch Workshop. July 23 - 25, Seattle, Washington. Critiques with a pro, a pitch session with an agent, panels with everything from geography and world-building, Indie and Hybrid vs. Traditional, the editing process, marketing, and much more. Also a two-hour block of time set aside for a free, open to the public portion. Authors will speak in an open discussion on several aspects of writing and there will be an opportunity for book sales and signings.
North Carolina Writers' Network Squire Summer Writing Residency. July 23 - 26. Greenville, North Carolina. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as a presentation and readings. Faculty includes poet Amber Flora Thomas and fiction writer Luke Whisnant.
Dallas-Fort Worth Writers' Conference. July 23 - 26, Dallas, TX. Agent pitch sessions, workshops, speakers, social events. Faculty: Charlaine Harris, Kevin J. Anderson, and Shilo Harris will be keynoting the event.
Writer’s Digest Conference, July 31–Aug. 2, New York. Annual Writer's Digest Conference featuring: Pitch Slam, with more than fifty agents and editors in attendance, educational tracks devoted to publishing and self-publishing, platform and promotion, and the craft of writing, speakers and instructors, including New York Times bestsellers Jonathan Maberry, Hallie Ephron and M.J. Rose, self-published author G.P. Ching, and Writer Beware co-founder Victoria Strauss.
Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Annual Conference. July 31–Aug. 3, Los Angeles, California. More than 100 writers, editors, illustrators, & agents. Workshops, breakout sessions, manuscript and portfolio consultations, panels, discussions.