30 Great Writing Conferences in July 2016
July brings us some wonderful writing conferences, including some really big events like ThrillerFest and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Annual Conference.
Writers have a lot to gain from attending a conference — opportunities to talk to authors, pitch sessions with agents, as well as workshops covering every aspect of writing and publishing. In addition, you get to share experiences with other writers. I encourage you to attend one!
Note: For a monthly listing of conferences, as well as how to find upcoming conferences, see Writing Conferences. Many of these are offered annually, so if you missed a conference you’d like to attend, you can always plan to attend next year.
ThrillerFest X. July 5–9, 2016, New York City. 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.
Southampton Writers Conference. July 6–17, 2016, Long Island, NY. The conference features workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and publishing, as well as readings, lectures, and a master class series with Roger Rosenblatt. The faculty includes poet Billy Collins; fiction writers Lauren Groff, Daniel Menaker, and Meg Wolitzer; and nonfiction writers Melissa Bank, Adam Gopnik, and Matthew Klam. The cost of a five-day workshop is $1,300; the cost of a twelve-day workshop is $1,950. Tuition includes access to all conference events and the master class series. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry or 10 to 20 pages of prose and a statement of purpose by April 1; there is no application fee. Scholarships are available; the application deadline is March 1. Participants may also register for the master class series only, for $950; a twelve-day residency at the conference, without a workshop, is available for $950, which includes access to morning and evening events. To apply, submit a statement of purpose by April 1; there is no application fee.
Leviosa. July 7–10, 2016, Henderson, Nevada. Harry Potter, YA Lit and Writer’s conference featuring close to 80 hours of programming over six tracks over four days: Academic, YA Literature, Slash/Queer Literature, Writing, Fandom, Creativity.
The Summer Writers Institute. July 8–22, 2016, St. Louis, Missouri. 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: Eric Lundgren, Fiction; Heather McPherson, Modern Humor; David Schuman, Micro Prose; Kent Shaw, Poetry; Kathleen Finneran, Advanced Personal Narrative; Deborah Taffa, Personal Narrative; Colin Bassett, Lit. Journalism. Cost: $1,950.
Antioch Writers’ Workshop. July 9–15, 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.
Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers. July 9–16, Wallowa Lake, Oregon. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as panel discussions, readings, and open mics. “Held each July at Wallowa Lake in northeast Oregon, Summer Fishtrap gathers writers for a week of inspired writing workshops and culminates with a weekend of passionate discussion on a key issue facing the West.” Faculty: Justin Hocking, Laura Pritchett, Robert Michael Pyle, Erika L. Sanchez, Marjorie Sandor, Barb Tetenbaum, Jane Vandenburgh, Joe Wilkins, Anis Mojgani, Cameron Scott, John Daniel. Cost: $750.
Tin House Summer Workshop. July 10–17, 2016, Portland, Oregon. Workshops with afternoon craft seminars and career panels. Evenings are reserved for author readings and revelry. Tin House editors and guest agents are available to meet individually with students throughout the week. Faculty: Fiction: Steve Almond, Mat Johnson, Rebecca Makkai, Toni Nelson, Chinelo Okparanta, Jess Walter, Joy Williams, Luis Urrea, Alex Chee, Jon Dee, Rachel Kushner, Dana Spiotta. Poetry: Jericho Brown, Sharon Olds, Greg Pardlo. CNF: JoAnn Beard, Michelle Tea, Kiese Laymom. Cost: $40 application fee, $1100 for tuition, $650 for room & board.
Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Summer Seminar. July 10–16 and 17–23, 2016, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Workshops in poetry and fiction, one-on-one manuscript consultations, panel discussions, and readings.
Young Writers Workshop. July 10–30, 2016, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Restrictions: For students completing grades 9, 10, 11. Three 90-minute workshop sessions daily, including imaginative writing activities and discussion of readings. Weekly individual meetings with workshop instructor. Focus is on using various forms of creative writing to develop language and thinking skills.
Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop. July 11–15, 2016, Oceanside, Oregon. An intensive workshop for those who are not only passionate about children’s book writing, but who dream of publishing their own children’s books. Getting attendees published is the end goal. The instructors are five professional children’s book authors, two children’s book editors from major publishing houses, and a full-time children’s book agent. Students can have at least one major manuscript consult per day, and possibly more.
Idyllwild Arts Summer Program Writers Week. July 11–15, 2016, Idyllwild, California. Workshops, craft talks, readings, and one-on-one consultations in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. “For decades Idyllwild Arts has been a gathering place for some of the world’s finest poets and writers — among them Ray Bradbury, Norman Corwin, Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, Maxine Kumin, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Philip Levine, Luis J. Rodriguez, David St. John and Natasha Trethewey. That fine tradition continues with our second annual Writers Week, a gathering of talented writers from Idyllwild Arts and beyond.”
Green River Writers Workshops:Turning Memory into Story: Memoir Writing Workshop. July 14–17, 2016, 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.
The Gathering. July 15–17, 2016, La Plume, Pennsylvania. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as lectures and performances. “Each year The Gathering is structured around a theme that relates everyday experiences to broader issues. The purpose of The Gathering is to promote understanding and empathy to bridge cultural, social, and economic gaps. Lecturers include authors, poets, scientists, philosophers, musicians, performers, and artists who help shape contemporary thought in their field. A reading list gets us thinking ahead of time about the issues we’ll be immersed in at The Gathering. Our presenters have included Salman Rushdie, Gregory Maguire, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Diane Ackerman, Chris Abani, Susan Jacoby, Katherine Paterson, Peter Bohlin, Nancy Willard, Victor Navasky, Sandy Tolan, and many others. Their availability for conversation during meals and breaks and at social gatherings offers important opportunities for participants to gain new insights into the speakers’ work.”
All Write Now! Writers’ Conference. July 16, 2016, Cape Girardeau, Missouri. A one day writers conference with workshops, pitches, in-person critique sessions, Slush Pile, contests, bookstore, lunch and prizes. Cost: $75/early bird/$85 regular registration.
Saskatchewan Festival of Words. July 17–24, 2016, Moose Jaw, Canada. Over the 4 days of the festival there are workshops for all ages, reading sessions, concerts, film, panel discussions, interviews, music, theatre, a slam poetry competition as well as workshops and author readings.
Write Time Black Writers Retreat. July 17–24, 2016, Palm Springs, California. “Designed for fiction and nonfiction writers and set amidst tranquil mountains surrounding an invigorating desert oasis, this affordable workshop will inspire and enlighten you. Head home with clearer direction and progress on your writing, energized from spending time with a community of dedicated writers, immersed in the literary life.” Faculty: Dr. Venise Berry, Dr. Jacqualyn Green, Ms. Jamillah Warner.
Centrum Port Townsend Writers’ Conference. July 17–24, 2016, 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.
Writing the Rockies. July 20–24, 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.
Midwest Writers Workshop. July 21–23, 2016, Muncie, Indiana. Craft and business sessions, agent pitches, manuscript evaluations. MWW includes quality instruction by a faculty of authors, agents, editors, and specialists.
Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. July 22–24, 2016, Grapevine, Texas. The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is a forum for journalists, writers, readers, students, educators and the general public to listen to, be inspired by and practice their craft at the highest possible level. Every year, the Mayborn Conference gathers some of the most talented storytellers in the country to share their stories, life-changing experiences and expertise with aspiring writers through three days of lectures, panels, one-on-one sessions, and student classes. In addition, the conference includes a variety of writing contests for anyone from high school students to Pulitzer prize winning professionals, who receive hand-made trophies, more than $26,000 in cash awards and have their work published in Mayborn’s journal, Ten Spurs, or anthology, Best American Newspaper Narratives.
Tennessee Writers Conference. July 23, 2016, Nashville, TN. This is a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event. This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. Attending agents: Cate Hart (Corvisiero Literary); Victoria Lea (Aponte Literary); Eric Smith (PS Literary); Julie Gwinn (Seymour Agency); Marisa Corvisiero (Corvisiero Literary); Laura Apperson (editor for St. Martins); and Tricia Skinner (Fuse Literary).
Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. July 24 — July 29, 2016, St. Helena, California. Workshops in poetry and fiction, craft lectures, panels, and evening readings with wine receptions at venues around Napa Valley. Faculty in poetry, Camille Dungy, Brenda Hillman, Major Jackson, and Brian Teare; in fiction, Charles Baxter, Ron Carlson, Lan Samantha Chang, and Yiyun Li.
Stonecoast Writers’ Conference. July 24–30, 2016, 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.
Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. July 24–31, 2016, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Workshops in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and publishing, as well as master classes for full-length manuscripts, readings, manuscript consultations. “We offer both weeklong and weekend workshops in fiction, poetry, nonfiction and more. Regular workshops fill on a first-come, first-served basis, while admission to weeklong master classes is determined by an evaluation process. Each year, the Conference invites several agents, editors and publishing professionals to consult with Conference participants. The 2016 Conference will feature a Sunday evening keynote reading by Sandra Cisneros and a Friday evening Pitchapalooza. Daily round tables and faculty readings will round out the Conference experience.”
Business Writers Conference. July 27–29, 2016, Young Harris, Georgia. A conference for professionals who want to publish their idea, concept, or expertise. Speakers, boot camp. break-out sessions, workshops.
PNWA Conference. July 28–31, 2016, 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.
Agent, Editor, Authors Critiques & Pitch Workshop. July 28–31, 2016, Tacoma, 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. Workshop Leaders: Beth Meacham (Senior Editor, Tor/Forge Books); Claire Eddy (Senior Editor, Tor/Forge Books); Lucienne Diver (Agent with The Knight Agency).
Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Annual Conference. July 29–August 1, 2016, Los Angeles, California. More than 100 writers, editors, illustrators, & agents. Workshops, breakout sessions, manuscript and portfolio consultations, panels, discussions.
Colorado Writing Workshop. July 30, 2016, Denver, CO. This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop. “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. Attending agents: Carlie Webber (CK Webber Associates Literary); Alex Barba (Inklings Literary); Lisa Abellera (Kimberley Cameron Literary); Angie Hodapp (Nelson Literary); Greg Johnson (Wordserve Literary); Becky DeJeune (Bond Literary); Jennie Goloboy and Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary); and Samantha Fountain (Corvisiero Literary).
Catamaran Writing Conference. July 31 through August 4th, 2016, Pebble Beach, CA. Workshops, craft lectures, and daily excursions, for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. Faculty: poets Joseph Millar and Zack Rogow; fiction writers Charlie Jane Anders, Molly Gloss, and Elizabeth McKenzie; and creative nonfiction writers Frances Lefkowitz and Elizabeth Rosner. The keynote speaker is fiction writer Jonathan Franzen. Cost (including tuition, most meals, and lodging on the Robert Louis Stevenson School campus) :$1,250. Submit five poems totaling no more than 10 pages, or up to 10 pages of prose by July 15.
Erica Verrillo has published five books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on how to get an agent, lists agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, explains how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and where to find markets for your work on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity.