Thursday, April 19, 2018

30 Fabulous Writing Conferences in May 2018

Richmond Terrace Gardens (Wikimedia)
Warm weather marks the beginning of conference season for writers. In May there are nearly three dozen writing conferences that span the country from one coast to the other. There are conferences that focus on the craft of writing, pitch conferences with agents and editors, and retreats for those who just need to get away. 

Conferences that include intimate coaching sessions tend to fill up quickly. I have included these, even if they are full, so you can plan ahead for next year. Planning ahead also gives you an opportunity to apply for the scholarships offered by some of these conferences. You can find a comprehensive list of conferences throughout the year here: Writing Conferences.


8th Annual Nonfiction Writers Conference. May 2 - 4, 2018: Conducted online. Opening Speaker: Gretchen Rubin

Northern Colorado Writers Conference. May 4 - 5, 2018, Fort Collins CO. Workshops, seminars, speakers, entertainment, agent roundtables, pitch sessions, networking with authors and industry professionals.

Idaho Writers Guild Conference. May 4 - 5, 2018, 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.

Atlanta Writers Conference. May 4 - 5, 2018, Atlanta, GA. The conference featured publishing panels, pitch sessions, manuscript and query letter critiques, and a workshop on screenwriting for writers who want to turn their novels in screenplays. Participating publishing professionals include editors Rebecca Aronson (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins), Nicole Counts (One World/Penguin Random House), Megan Hogan (Simon & Schuster), Anna Michels (Sourcebooks), Christopher Morgan (Tor/Forge), and Anne Speyer, (Ballantine Books/Penguin Random House), and agents Linda Camacho (Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency), Sarah Landis (Sterling Lord Literistic), Sam Morgan (Foundry Media LLC), Monica Odom (Liza Dawson & Associates), Abby Saul (The Lark Group), and Brooks Sherman (Janklow & Nesbit Associates).

Washington Writers Conference 2018. May 4 - 5, 2018: College Park, MD. "We begin Friday evening, May 4th, with a meet-and-greet-and-eat reception (cash bar), followed by a “How to Pitch to Agents” panel to help you succeed during Saturday’s pitch sessions. Several past attendees have signed with agents and/or landed book deals after pitching at our conference! And one agent alone obtained five book contracts for his new clients! Keynoter will be Bob Schieffer, veteran broadcast journalist, former CBS News anchor and “Face the Nation” moderator, and author, most recently, of Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News. National Book Award-winning novelist Alice McDermott will be in conversation with Tayla Burney, a radio producer and creator of the WAMU Books events series. Other Saturday panels include sessions on climate change (from a writer’s perspective), “Political Books in the Age of Trump,” and how to get published. As always, you can count on enjoying the fellowship and networking with other established and aspiring authors."

Gold Rush Writers Conference. May 4 - 6, 2018, 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. Individual sessions available.

Hedgebrook VORTEXT Salon. May 4 - 6, 2018, 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.

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival. May 4 - May 6, 2018, 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.

River View Poetry Getaway. May 4 - 6, 2018: Garrison, NY.  A retreat with workshops led by Peter Murphy. Yoga sessions offered.

Columbus State Community College Writers Conference. May 5, 2018, 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.

MokulÄ“‘ia Writers Retreat. May 6 - 11, 2018 in Waialua, Hawaii at Camp MokulÄ“‘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 and Revising Narrative Nonfiction. May 7 - 12, 2018: Honesdale, PA. A writer of narrative nonfiction must work with both head and heart. Whether you’re writing a 1,200-word picture book, a 35,000-word middle grade, or a 65,000-word book for young adults, you need to carefully research to gather information and then assess its accuracy and relevance in order to create a compelling, true story. At this workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to dig deeply into your revision. Deadline for application: April 15.

Lakefly Writers Conference. May 11 - 12, 2018: Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Workshops, talks, and a bookfair for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. Keynote is mystery writer Lori Rader-Day, author of The Day I Died, The Black Hour, and Little Pretty Things. She is the recipient of the 2016 Mary Higgins Clark Award. Many speakers and presenters.

Seaside Writers Conference (Now Longleaf Writers).  May 13 - 20, 2018: 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.

Writing the Unreal: The Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy & Speculative Fiction. May 13 -20, 2018, 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.

Romance Times BookLovers. May 15 -20, 2018, Peppermill Resort, Reno, Nevada. More than 200 workshops led by bestselling authors and industry professionals covering craft, media & marketing, self-publishing, social media and business plus workshops led by star authors in genres including Romance. Urban Fantasy, Erotica, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, Young Adult, New Adult, Inspirational, SF/Fantasy and Mainstream Fiction. Also book signings and many author events. Aspiring and published authors can make appointments with an agent or editor.

Writing By Writers Methow Valley Workshop. May 16 - 20 2018:Winthrop, WA. Faculty includes Dorothy Allison, Peter Ho Davies and Pam Houston. 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.

Nebula Conference. May 17th-20th, 2018, Pittsburgh, PA. SFWA members and other individuals who are interested in the field of science fiction and fantasy are welcome to attend SFWA’s Nebula Conference. Attendees may participate in workshops, programming and special events throughout the weekend. You do not need to be a member of SFWA to attend.

ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) Writers Conference, May 18 - 19, 2018. 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 18 - 20, 2018: Pittsburgh, PA. Friday evening keynote Gayle Lynds; Saturday afternoon keynote Wende Dikec; and 20+ authors, literary agents & editors, writing industry pros. Costs: $375 for 3-day registration. One-day registration available $185.

Red Ink Conference. May 19, 2018: Troy, MI. "Here are some topics we'll cover: From the Page to the Stage: Turning Your Bestselling Book into a Script, Self-Publishing Industry Secrets, How to Create a Bestselling Bio, The Bestseller Book Synopsis, Marketing to Make Money."

Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp. May 20 - 26, 2018: 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.

Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers. May 21 - 25, 2018: Houston, Texas. Daily workshops, readings, craft talks, social events and professionalism panels in an intimate and supportive environment designed specifically with the needs of emerging writers in mind.

Wake Up and Write WRW and Writers Retreat Workshop. May 22 - 31, 2018: Boise, Idaho. Workshops, marketing sessions, and one-on-one with agent Lisa Abellera.

Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference. May 24 - 26, 2018: 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.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Summer Poetry Writing Retreat. May 25 - 27, 2018: Knoxville, Tennessee. The three-day, two-night camping retreat will be held at SAFTA's own Firefly Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee. All SAFTA retreats focus on generative poetry writing, and this year's poetry retreat will also include break-out sessions on writing political poetry, writing confession, kicking writer's block, publishing, and more. 

Balticon 51. May 25 - 28, 2018: 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: Guest of Honor: Catherine Asaro. Multiple tracks of Programming over the four day weekend, featuring authors, artists, scientists, musicians, podcasters, publishers, editors, costumers and other creative SF luminaries.

James Jones Writers Workshop Retreat. May 27 - June 3, 2018: New Harmony, IN. Faculty: Kaylie Jones, Judy Mandel, J Patrick Redmond. Costs: Advanced Writing Workshop (includes food and lodging for 7 days): $2,450. The Art of Creative Writing (beginner): $500

North Words Writers Symposium: May 30 - June 2, 2018: Skagway, Alaska. In addition to keynote author Susan Orlean, current Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes of Juneau, Portland novelist Willy Vlautin, Ketchikan writer-artist Ray Troll, Washington writer-editor Colleen Mondor, and Fairbanks writer and former Alaska Writer Laureate Frank Soos. Juneau poet Emily Wall will be one of the workshop leaders. Costs: $375 includes most meals. College credit extra for $90.

Bear River Writers’ Conference. May 31 - June 4, 2018: Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake, near Petoskey, Michigan. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as readings, discussions, nature walks, and time to write. The faculty includes poets Tarfia Faizullah, Ross Gay, Thomas Lynch, Jamaal May, and Richard Tillinghast; poet and fiction writer Laura Kasischke; fiction writers Desiree Coope, Antonya Nelson, and Douglas Trevor; and creative nonfiction writers Jerry Dennis and Mardi Link. Tuition, including all meals and lodging, ranges from $715 for a bunk room to $875 for a private room with a private bathroom. The cost without lodging is $625. A deposit is required to secure enrollment; the balance is due by May 5.

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