Tuesday, August 24, 2021

25 Superb Writing Conferences in September 2021

This September there are two dozen fabulous writing conferences. You can attend workshops, presentations, readings, discussions, lectures, and critiques via Zoom. Some are also offering workshops in person. 

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.

Plan ahead! Conferences often offer scholarships, but these have deadlines. If one of these conferences interests you, put the scholarship deadline date on your calendar for next year, or for whenever the conference rolls around again.

For a full list of conferences, organized by month, see Writing Conferences. While nearly all of these are in the United States, you can find links on that page that will take you to world-wide conference lists.

(Image by Tomasz Hanarz from Pixabay )


Kaz Conference Keep Writing Virtual Nonfiction Cohort. Sept - Oct, 2021. Workshops include developmental workshops as well as talks on the practical training of writers with input from editors, publicists, agents, social media experts and productivity coaches. Because reading and reviewing other work helps to strengthen ones own writing, peer review is a requirement of all sessions. Just 10 to 16 writers are accepted for each cohort. Will be held online.

DragonCon. September 2 - 6, 2021: Atlanta, Ga. HUGE sci-fi event, with parade, autograph sessions, live performances, readings, wrestling (!), workshops on belly dancing, writing (yes, there's even some writing), art show. (This conference sounds really wild.)

North Words Writers Symposium. September 3 - 5, 2021: Skagway, Alaska. Faculty: Kim Heacox (keynote), Marie Tozier, Hank Lentfer, Tina Ontiveros, M Jackson, Caroline Van Hemert, Nancy Lord, Vaccination required.

WriterCon. September 3 - 6, 2021: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. "Discover if self-publishing is the best option for your book–and how to self-publish easily. See what techniques and tools you need to be your own best editor. Find out how to pitch to an agent–by email and in person. Go over the 7 steps to creating your fiction novel, so it’s ROCK SOLID every time. Learn about ghostwriting, which can be a lucrative market for authors. Dive deeper into children’s writing, writing for computer games, poetry, screenplays, songs, cookbooks and more. Witness how to publish on Kindle step-by-step. Uncover the latest tips, tricks and tools for marketing your book–and yourself–effectively. Talk to top agents, editors, publishers and publicists, and MORE."

The Gathering. September 4 - 6, 2021. Workshops in poetry as well as readings. 2-hour Workshops & Readings Friday night, Saturday , and Sunday. Participant Open Mics Friday and Saturday night. Will be held on Zoom.

Kentucky Women Writers Conference. Sept. 9 –12, 2021: Lexington, KY. The Kentucky Women Writers Conference is the longest running literary festival of women in the nation. About 1,000 individuals attend the conference each year. Daytime sessions attract about 150 writers at all stages of development, and free evening events gather a lively community of readers. Most come seeking literary sisterhood, help with a manuscript, or practical advice about the publishing industry. Many are students or beginning writers.

Chesapeake Writing Day Workshop. September 10-11, 2021. Online. A full-day “How to Get Published” event. "This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more."

Creatures, Crimes & Creativity. September 10 - 12, 2021: Columbia, MD. A writer's and fan's conference for genre fiction covering mystery, suspense, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk & horror.

Poets on the Coast. Sept. 10 - 12, 2021: La Conner, Washington. Workshop, one-on-one mentoring, craft classes, and yoga for women poets. The faculty includes poets Kelli Russell Agodon and Susan Rich. Tuition, which does not include lodging or meals, is $429. Will be held online.

49 Writers Tutka Bay Retreat. September 10 - 12, 2021: Tutka Bay, Alaska. Guest Instructor: Elena Passarello.

Squam Writes Retreat. September 10 - 12, 2021: Squam Lake, New Hampshire. The Squam Writes Retreat is a small group retreat for experienced fiction writers. We focus on craft with an eye toward publication. We offer opportunities for feedback and plenty of time to write, make new friends, and recharge creative batteries in a beautiful New Hampshire lakeside setting. Every participant receives a one-on-one critique with an agent or editor. CLOSED.

Digital Book World Conference. September 13 - 15, 2021: Nashville TN. This is the premier event for digital publishers and content providers of all sizes and business models. 

Orion Nonfiction Writers' Workshop. September 14 - October 8, 2021. Online. This craft-focused course taught by Francisco CantĂș aims to provide both a generative space for creating new work as well as a virtual forum for conversation, revision, and critique. At the center of our inquiry will be question of how to write about landscape while avoiding clichĂ© and acknowledging the historical erasure that so often underlies our understanding of place. Together will look beyond traditional approaches to writing, exploring interdisciplinary and site-specific ways of being attentive to the outside world as we find new ways of responding to landscape, the histories it holds, and the narratives that flow from it. This class meets twice a week over four consecutive Tuesdays and Fridays from 6-8pm ET. Application Period: August 1 – 15, 2021.

John R. Milton Writers' Conference. September 16 - 18, 2021: Vermillion, South Dakota. The conference theme is “Prospecting: Uncovering New Veins and Voices in Identity, Genre, and Place.” Mary Gaitskill is keynote author, and Brandon Hobson, Steven Dunn, Karen Salyer McElmurray, and Christine Stewart are featured authors; in addition, the conference will feature readings by USD’s Department of English faculty duncan b. barlow, Leah McCormack, and Lee Ann Roripaugh, and USD Writer in Residence Residence Pete Dexter.

PNWA Conference. September 16 - 19, 2021, 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. Will be held online.

Writing On The Door: Washington Island Literary Festival. September 16 - 19, 2021: Washington Island, Wisconsin. "Join us on beautiful Washington Island for three days of creativity, craft seminars, and author presentations. Thursday, September 16: Creative Lab; Friday, September 17: craft seminars and workshops; Saturday, September 18: author conversations and presentations." Featured Writers Include: Lesley Nneka Arimah, Chris Cander, Christina Clancy, Adrian Matejka, Megan Stielestra, Alexander Weinstein. 

A Weekend For Words. Sept 17 - 19, 2021: Irvine, CA. 60+ working, professional authors of fiction, nonfiction & screen, editors & agents. Costs $325-$425. Manuscript critique & one-on-one consultation additional.

The Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference. Sept 17 - 19, 2021: Austin, Tex. The conference features panel discussions, lectures, pitch sessions, receptions, and one-on-one consultations with agents and editors. PParticipating agents include Ian Bonaparte (Janklow & Nesbit), Jamie Carr (Book Group), Rebecca Gradinger (Fletcher & Company), Robert Guinsler (Sterling Lord Literistic), Sandy Lu (L. Perkins Agency), Duvall Osteen (Aragi, Inc.), and John Rudolph (Dystel, Goderich & Bourret). The cost of the conference is $469 for Writers’ League members and $529 for non-members. Lodging is available at the conference hotel for discounted rates. Admissions are rolling through June 24.

Mini Writing Getaway. September 18 (in person) and 25 (online), 2021: Atlantic City, NJ. Need a brief break from your life? Need to rekindle your love affair with writing? Join us for a welcoming getaway designed for writers of fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction and poetry. This retreat will trigger your imagination, giving you the freedom to compose new and exciting work. Spend the day immersed in the literary life: writing, discussing craft and sharing new drafts. No distractions. Led by Peter E. Murphy. Will be held online  and in person.

Okoboji Writers' in-person Retreat. September 20 - 22, 2021: Arnolds Park, IA. The Okoboji Writers' Retreat features 15 speakers, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer, editors of large daily newspapers, columnists, and a literary agent. Faculty Rekha Basu, Art Cullen, Doug Burns, Rachelle Chase, Ty Rushing, John Dinges, Arnold Garson, Jane Dystal, Lyz Lenz, James O'Shea, Rachel Yoder, Paige Windsor, and Diane Glass. Cost: $596. 

Algonkian Writer Conference–New York City Pitch. September 23 - 26, 2021: Ripley-Grier Studios in New York City. The New York Pitch Conference and writers workshop is held four times a year and features publishing house editors from major houses such as Penguin, Random House, St. Martins, Harper Collins, Tor and Del Rey, Kensington Books and many more who are looking for new novels in a variety of genres, as well as narrative non-fiction. 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.

LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop. September 24 - 26, 2021: Tieton, WA. The workshop features readings, performances, and meditation for poets. The past faculty included poets included Ching-In Chen, Christopher Howell, Brooke Matson, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Dennis Nurkse, Kelly Schirmann, Chad Sweeney, Dujie Tahat, Alexandra Teague, and Tobias Wray. Virtual and in person.

Aspen Autumn Words. September 26 - October 1, 2021: Aspen, Colorado. Workshops, panels, and readings in fiction and creative nonfiction, as well as opportunities to meet with agents and editors. "Aspen Summer Words is the Rocky Mountain gateway to the literary world. Recognized as one of the country’s pre-eminent literary conferences, Summer Words welcomes visitors and locals alike to celebrate writing and writers in Aspen for a week each June. The exceptional faculty and awe-inspiring mountain scenery combine to make this a writing retreat like no other." 

Brooklyn Book Festival. September 26 - October 4, 2021: Brooklyn, NY. This year’s Festival Day and Literary Marketplace, a day-long celebration of authors and books, will take place in person in Downtown Brooklyn as well as virtually. At our live BKBF Children’s Day, families will enjoy a full day of readings, workshops, performances, book signings, yoga, and art projects with favorite authors and illustrators.  Citywide Bookend events — in person and virtual — take place September 26 – October 2 & 4.  All events are free and open to the public.

Georgia Romance Writers: Moonlight and Magnolias. September 30 – October 3, 2021: Atlanta, Georgia. Includes keynote speakers, workshops, editor/agent appointments, autographing & bookfair, awards banquet.

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