Annual Conference


April 6-8, 2017
   DoubleTree Hotel
   Oak Ridge, TN


Writing Contests, Workshops, Networking, Manuscript Evaluations, Publishers, Editors, Book Signings, Bookstore, Vendors, and more!

January 15, 2017 - Scholarship Applications
February 1, 2017 - Contest Entries
March 1, 2017 - Manuscript Evaluation Entries
March 17, 2017 - Hotel Conference Rate Expires
March 23, 2017- Early Registration Rate Ends

Click here for the conference schedule.

Click here for online registration and payment.
Click here for paper registration and pay by check.

DoubleTree Hotel
215 S. Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN
(865) 481-2468
$89/night plus tax (Conference Rate)
Rate expires March 17, 2017 or sold-out.

A limited number of scholarships are available based on need and interest in writing. The deadline for requesting a scholarship is January 15, 2017. For more information please contact us at

Click here for the contest rules.

First Place - $100 + Plaque
Second Place - $50 + Certificate
Third Place - $25 + Certificate
Honorable Mention(s) - Certificate
Sue Ellen Hudson Excellence in Writing Award - $100 + Trophy


In the event of any change, the information will be posted here.












Carol Aebersold- Banquet Speaker

Native Oak Ridger Carol Aebersold is the award-winning co-author of the acclaimed book The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition as well as several board books. Aebersold serves as a spokeswoman for the North Pole, traveling nationally -- and sometimes internationally -- in support of her books, providing kids with a direct line to Santa. She is also a co-founder of The Elf on the Shelf’s publishing company, Creatively Classic Activities and Books (CCA and B,LLC), where she serves as owner and partner.

Aebersold is one of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2010 Georgia Small Business Persons of the Year, a University of Tennesse-Knoxville 2013 Accomplished Alumna, and one of the Marietta Daily Journal’s 2014 Cobb Citizens of the Year. Her book The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition has been on the best-seller lists of USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly almost yearly since its 2005 launch.


Jesse van Eerden- Nonfiction & General Session

Jessie van Eerden is author of the novel Glorybound (2012), winner of ForeWord Reviews’ Editor’s Choice Fiction Prize, and the novel My Radio Radio (2016). Her essays have appeared in The Oxford American, River Teeth and other magazines. Her nonfiction has also been included in Best American Spiritual Writing, Red Holler: An Anthology of Contemporary Appalachian Literature, and Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. Jessie received the Milton Fellowship from Image and Seattle Pacific University for work on her debut novel, and she received her MFA in nonfiction from the University of Iowa. She lives in West Virginia, where she directs the low-residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College.


Beverly Connor - Fiction

Beverly Connor, the author of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation series and the Lindsay Chamberlain Archaeology Mystery series, weaves her professional experiences as an archaeologist and her knowledge of the South into interlinked stories of the past and present in both her series of mysteries. Her books have been in the Top 10 on the Independent Mystery Booksellers bestseller lists. She won the 2004 Career Achievement Award in Suspense from the RT BOOKClub magazine. One Grave Less won Best Suspense Novel of 2010 from RT Bookreviews.


Marianne Worthington - Poetry

Marianne Worthington is the co-founder and poetry editor of Still: The Journal, an online literary journal established in 2009. She is the former poetry editor and book reviews editor for Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine. Her poetry chapbook, Larger Bodies Than Mine, won the Appalachian Book of the Year Award. She received the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and is a grant recipient from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies.


Debbie Dadey - Writing for Young People

Debbie Dadey began her professional career as a first-grade teacher, and later became a school librarian in Lexington, KY. In Lexington Debbie met and began writing with Marcia Thornton Jones. Their first published book, Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots, spawned a series of more than 60 books, as well as two other spin-off series with sales of more than 42 million copies. Since then Debbie has been author and co-author of a total of 162 books. Her newest series, Mermaid Tales, is with Simon and Schuster;  2017 will include the launch of four new books in the series.


Alicia Clancy - Editing/Publishing

Alicia Clancy is an assistant editor at St. Martin’s Press in New York City, where she works on a range of projects; she looks for young adult fiction across all genres (excluding paranormal), as well as upmarket and commercial women’s fiction, literary fiction, speculative fiction, mystery/thrillers, high fantasy/dystopian sci-fi, and select pop-culture/humor nonfiction projects. The author of an illustrated gift book, BE MY GALENTINE: Celebrating Badass Female Friendship, she lives in Hoboken, NJ, with her husband and her cattle dog puppy, Whiskey. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. **NOTE: Alicia invites those who will be attending her Saturday workshop, to be titled “Ask Me Anything,” to submit questions in advance to**

Specialty Session Leaders


Gloria Ballard - Travel Writing

Gloria Ballard is a native of Nashville, where she was travel editor at The Tennessean from 1998 until 2006; as a freelance writer she currently writes travel and garden features for The Tennessean. She teaches creative writing classes at Watkins Community Education;  is a mentor in nonfiction and fiction at MTSU Write, a writing certificate program at Middle Tennessee State University; and leads creative writing and travel writing workshops. She was the winner of the Travel Writer category in the Mississippi Tourism Association’s 2015 Travel Media awards.


Susan Gregg Gilmore - Writing for Magazines

Susan Gregg Gilmore is a free-lance journalist and novelist who has written for the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Chattanooga News-Free Press, and Garden & Gun.  Her essay “An L.A. Beagle” appeared in Garden & Gun’s Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty. She is the author of three novels, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove, and her most recent work, The Funeral Dress, called “a revelatory novel that offers an evocative account of the lives of Appalachian working women” by Kirkus Reviews.

Robert Gipe - Fiction and the Documentary Tradition

Robert Gipe won the 2015 Weatherford Award for outstanding Appalachian novel for his first novel, Trampoline. His fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Still, and Southern Cultures. He is the Appalachian Program Director at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Harlan County; in that role, he produces the Higher Ground series of community performances, which engages hundreds of community members in contributing stories and songs for collaboratively written original musical dramas.  Gipe is the former director of Educational Services at Appalshop, a media arts center in Whitesburg, Kentucky.


Victoria Hubbell - Personal Narrative

Victoria Hubbell has helped writers of all ages and at all stages of the writing process, teaching first in the public schools of Missouri and later at the college level. Her most recent interests have involved using oral histories. Her book A Town on Two Rivers was based on more than 100 interviews combined with other historical texts. Her chapter on storytelling and its effect on culture was included in the textbook Jim Hensen and Philosophy. Victoria’s most recent book, Blood River Rising: The Thompson-Crismon Feud of the 1920s, is a nonfiction narrative in the genre of literary journalism.


Kory Wells - Establishing an Internet Presence

Kory Wells is a poet, writer and teaching artist whose first career was in software development. After gaining national recognition for her niche blogging and social media outreach, Kory now shares technology strategies with arts and advocacy communities. Her poetic works include the chapbook Heaven Was the Moon and the album Decent Pan of Cornbread, on which she collaborated with her daughter, old-time musician Kelsey Wells.  A native Tennessean, she is a two-time Rash Award for Poetry finalist, and  mentors poetry students in the low-residency program MTSU Write. 

This event is funded in part under an agreement with the
Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.