2024 Annual Conference | Rising to Write

by | Jan 3, 2024

Conference Time and Place (see more details toward bottom of page)

April 4-6, 2024
DoubleTree Hotel
Oak Ridge, Tn

      • Writing Contests
      • Workshops
      • Networking
      • Manuscript Evaluations
      • Publishers
      • Book Signings
      • Bookstore
      • Vendors
      • And more!

View the Conference Schedule

Go to Registration Page

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Susan O'Dell Underwood

Susan O’Dell Underwood
Banquet Speaker and Poetry Session


Susan O’Dell Underwood was raised in an extended family of farmers and teachers in Bristol, Tennessee. She recently retired from thirty-three years of teaching at Carson-Newman University, where she taught courses in creative writing, Appalachian literature, and genre studies. Besides two chapbooks, she has two full-length volumes of poetry—The Book of Awe (Iris Press, 2018) and Splinter, released in 2023 by Madville Publishing, which also published her novel Genesis Road. Her poems, essays, and stories appear in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Ecotone, Oxford American, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Vol. 6.

Workshop Leaders:

Jim Minick

Jim Minick – Nonfiction & General Session

Jim Minick is the author or editor of eight books, including Without Warning: The Tornado of Udall, Kansas (nonfiction), The Intimacy of Spoons (poetry), Fire Is Your Water (novel), and The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family. His work has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Poets & Writers, Oxford American, Orion, Shenandoah, Appalachian Journal, Wind, and The Sun. He serves as Coeditor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel.

Pamela Schoenewaldt

Pamela Schoenewaldt – Fiction

Pamela Schoenewaldt’s three historical novels were published by HarperCollins, translated into five languages, and were Barnes and Noble Great Discoveries and USAToday Bestsellers, twice short-listed for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. She is in the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame and was Writer in Residence at UT Libraries. She has taught writing here and in Italy. Her short stories have been published widely. She lives in Knoxville.

Susan Eaddy

Susan Eaddy – Young People’s Literature

Susan Eaddy writes picture books and plays with modeling clay in her attic studio. She was an Art Director for fifteen years, has served as a judge for the Audie Awards for 14 years, and has won international 3D illustration awards and a Grammy nomination. She also serves as Co-Regional Advisor for the Midsouth Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Eaddy is the author of Poppy’s Best Paper and Poppy’s Best Babies, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet, and Eenie Meenie Halloweenie, illustrated by Lucy Fleming. Her clay-illustrated books include Papa Fish’s Lullaby by Patricia Hubbell, My Love for You is the Sun, by Julie Hedlund, Sir Drake The Brave, by Joy Jordan Lake and The Worried Wiseman, which she also wrote.

Special Sessions:

Rhea Carmon

Healing Pain with Your Pen

A motivational poet, for 20 years RheaSunshine (Rhea Carmon) has traveled the nation, sharing her spoken word and facilitating self-expression, liberation, and healing. She is Executive Director of the 5th Woman Poetry Collective, dedicated to sharing stories and inspiring audiences to be active in their communities. She is the author of five chapbooks and has recorded three CDs. Carmon was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame and was Poet Laureate of Knoxville from 2020-2023.

Denton Loving

The Ins and Outs of Submissions and Contest Entries

Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collections Crimes Against Birds (Main Street Rag) and Tamp (Mercer University Press). He is a co-founder and editor at EastOver Press and its literary journal Cutleaf, and is a poetry mentor in the MTSU Writes program at Middle Tennessee State University. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Iron Horse Literary Review, Kenyon Review, Tupelo Quarterly, The Chattahoochee Review, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and The Threepenny Review.

Chrissie Anderson Peters
Laura Still
Sharon Waters

Confronting Imposter Syndrome for Writers

Chrissie Anderson Peters worked in public and academic libraries for 20 years in Virginia and Tennessee. Her writing has been featured in numerous publications, and is  included in Howling Hills Publishing’s most recent publication, 23 Tales: Appalachian Ghost Stories, Legends, and Other Mysteries.

Sharon Shadrick taught English and Writing Lab for twenty years in Tennessee before retiring in 2022. Her work is forthcoming in the Women of Appalachia Project’s 15th anniversary anthology, Women Speak. She is currently working on a memoir and completing a co-written nonfiction book, The Power of a Paper Clip.
Sharon Waters holds a master’s degree in Counselor Education and Student Services, an MFA in Creative Writing, and a Master of Divinity degree.  She has taught for thirty-four years on mental health issues in classrooms, for organizations, and in churches. Waters  has a play published in 30 Short Plays for Passionate Actors and in Longridge Review.
Fred Sauceman

Writing for Magazines

Fred Sauceman, with his wife, Jill, writes the “Flavors” column for Blue Ridge Country magazine. He has written and edited seven food-related books, including three volumes of The Place Setting series, Buttermilk & Bible Burgers, and The Proffitts of Ridgewood:  An Appalachian Family’s Life in Barbecue. He is a monthly guest on “Food with Fred” on WJHL-TV in Johnson City, and writes a monthly column for the Kingsport Times-News and Johnson City Press.


Steve Wildsmith

Social Media for Writers

Steve Wildsmith is an award-winning journalist recognized for his writing for newspapers by the Tennessee Press Association and the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists, and in 2023 was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for social media. He has worked as a social media specialist and content writer for both Cornerstone of Recovery and Maryville College, where he currently serves as assistant director of the Office of Marketing and Communications and as an adjunct instructor in the Division of Languages and Literature.

Hotel Reservations:

DoubleTree Hotel 215 S. Illinois Avenue Oak Ridge, TN 37830 (865) 481-2468 $119/night plus tax single or double (T24 Conference Rate). Mention group convention code: T24 Or book online using this link. Limited number of rooms. Rate expires March 14, 2024.

A limited number of scholarships are available based on need and interest in writing. The deadline for requesting a scholarship is January 15, 2024. For more information please contact us at scholarships@tmwi.org
Contest Awards:
  • 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

See below for contest entry details.

January 15, 2024 Scholarship Applications February 1, 2024 Contest Entries March 1, 2024 Manuscript Evaluation Entries March 21, 2024 Conference Early Registration Rate Ends

Joyce A. McDonald Writing Competition


(Insufficient response may result in cancellation of any category and refund for entries.)


3,000 words maximum. Short story or novel portion (any selected section, for adults or youths). Please indicate “short story” or “novel excerpt” on the manuscript.

Children’s Literature

1,500 words maximum (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.) written FOR children. NOTE: Novel portions written for adolescents/young people should be entered in Fiction category.


2,000 words maximum (any genre; if poetry, one poem)


2,000 words maximum (essay, article, humorous, how-to, etc.)


1 set of up to 3 poems (any form, style)

Entry Rules

Entries must be submitted via email attachment only. Send to contests@tmwi.org. Persons winning First Place in any TMW contest category are ineligible to enter that same category the following year. TMW workshop/specialty session leaders are ineligible to enter in the category they’ve taught. Any individual piece may be entered in one contest category only. Limit of two (2) entries per category per person. Entries must not have been previously published, accepted for publication, nor have won any award in a previous TMW contest.

 Entry Fees

Full conference attendees: No fee for first entry in each category, $10 per entry for additional entries. Must be paid registrant by Feb.1.

Part-time or non-conference participants: $15 per entry.

Entry Deadline

Entries must be emailed by midnight (EST) February 1, 2024, to contests@tmwi.org, with payment made through the PayPal options on our registration page. Print our contest submission checklist.


Winners for each category will be announced and awards presented during the TMW banquet Saturday, April 6, 2024.

This project is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Tennessee Mountain Writers, Inc. (TMW) is a non-profit, non-political organization which promotes Tennessee literary arts and supports the work of Tennessee writers. Our goal is to provide opportunity for people interested in the craft of writing to become better writers. TMW is a member of the Oak Ridge Arts Council and is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Membership is open to all writers interested in furthering these objectives, regardless of geographic location. All interested individuals are welcome to participate in activities of the Tennessee Mountain Writers, Inc. No individual shall be excluded from or denied benefits, subjected to discrimination, or denied participation in any TMWI programs because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief.