Annual Conference



April 5-7, 2018
DoubleTree Hotel,
 Oak Ridge, TN


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

January 15, 2018 – Scholarship Applications
February 1, 2018 – Contest Entries
March 1, 2018 – Manuscript Evaluation Entries
March 15, 2018 – Hotel Conference Rate Expires
March 22, 2018- 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
$99/night plus tax (Conference Rate)
Rate expires March 15, 2018 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, 2018. 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.











Marilyn Kallet – Banquet Speaker and Poetry

Marilyn Kallet, Nancy Moore Goslee Professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, has published 17 books, including The Love That Moves Me, poetry from Black Widow Press, 2013.Her next volume of lyric poems, How Our Bodies Learned, will be out from Black Widow Press in January 2018. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems and Péret’s The Big Game, and has co-edited and co-translated Chantal Bizzini’s Disenchanted City (with J. Bradford Anderson and Darren Jackson). She  teaches poetry workshops each spring in Auvillar, France, for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, at their French studio. She has performed her poems on campuses and in theaters across the United States, as well as in France and Poland as a guest of the U.S. Embassy. The University of Tennessee lists her as a specialist in poetry and dreams, poetry and healing, and poetry’s role in times of crisis.

Kelly O’Connor McNees – Writing for Young People & General Session

Kelly O’Connor McNees is the author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, The Island of Doves, and In Need of a Good Wife, a finalist for the 2013 Willa Award. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post and The Toast, and is forthcoming in the Chicago Anthology. She is the recipient of the 2017 Meg Medina Artist-in-Residency Scholarship from the Highlights Foundation. She runs Word Bird Editorial Services, which helps writers of all stripes improve their craft and prepare their work for publication, and speaks at libraries, conferences, and book clubs. Born and raised in Michigan, she lives in Chicago with her family.

Pamela Schoenewaldt – Fiction

Pamela Schoenewaldt is a historical novelist and USAToday bestseller. Her novels, When We Were StrangersSwimming in the Moon, and Under the Same Blue Sky, all published by HarperCollins, have been translated into five languages and short-listed for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. A one-act play in Italian was performed in Naples, Italy, where she lived for ten years. Her prize-winning short stories have been published in England, France, Italy, and the U.S. She taught writing for the University of Maryland, European Division, and the University of Tennessee. Pamela lives in Knoxville with her husband, Maurizio Conti. Her novel in progress is set in Knoxville in 1919.

Chris Martin – Nonfiction
Christopher Martin is the author of This Gladdening Light: An Ecology of Fatherhood and Faith (Mercer University Press), which won the Will D. Campbell Award in Creative Nonfiction. His work has appeared in publications across the country, including American Public Media’s “On Being,” Fourth River, McSweeney’s, Poecology, Shambhala Sun, Still: The Journal, and Thrush Poetry Journal. A contributing editor at New Southerner, the author of three poetry chapbooks, and a recipient of the George Scarbrough Prize for Poetry, he teaches English at Kennesaw State University and creative nonfiction for the Appalachian Young Writers Workshop. He lives with his wife and their two young children in northwest Georgia, between the Allatoona Range and Kennesaw Mountain.

Specialty Session Leaders

David Nuttall – Drawing Fictional Maps
Originally from Aberfan in South Wales, David has lived in Huntsville, Alabama, since 1996. His work includes hand-drawn, plausible fictional maps on a variety of mediums, including paper, photographs, wood, board, canvas and most recently directly on skin (as temporary art). David was trained as a cartographer by the British Government’s Military Survey mapping agency and has worked in mapping, GIS, software implementation, customer training and software design, but is now a full-time artist with a working studio at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment.
Belinda Smith – Songwriting
Belinda Smith is a Dove Award-winning songwriter based in Nashville. A professional songwriter and session singer since 1997, she is a staff writer at Daywind Publishing and has had more than 100 songs recorded by a wide range of artists. She has been a featured performer and speaker at venues and workshops including Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, the Southern Festival of Books, NPR’s Mountain Stage, and the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, and also offers personal songwriting mentoring through Belinda Smith Creative. Belinda has won three BMI awards, and recently celebrated her fifth #1 song.
Lynn York – Writing Southern Cozies
Lynn York is the author of two novels: The Piano Teacher (Plume, 2004) and The Sweet Life (Plume, 2007), a Booksense Notable Book. She has worked with non-profit Carolina Wren Press since 2013, and, with Robin Miura, founded the Lee Smith Novel Prize. In January 2018, following the purchase of the book list of John F. Blair, she and Miura will combine the two presses to form Blair, where she will serve as Publisher. She has taught workshops at Duke’s Osher Institute, North Carolina State University, High Point University, and elsewhere.
Robert Cumming – Publisher’s Viewpoint
Robert Cumming is a writer and publisher who resides in Oak Ridge. He has for 21 years been owner and publisher of The Iris Publishing Group, Inc., which publishes books, chapbooks, electronic books, and audio recordings. Iris has two book imprints: Iris Press and Tellico Books. Robert is active in a number of regional and national writers’ organizations and has led a number of writers’ workshops. His writing in recent years has focused on poetry and essays.
Beto Cumming – Publisher’s Viewpoint
Beto Cumming works as an editor and book designer for The Iris Publishing Group, Inc. He has studied creative writing at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and in the MFA program at The University of Memphis. He has had numerous poems published in journals and anthologies over the years.
Chris Martin and Kelly O’Connor McNees – Writing Across Genres
See photos and bios above.

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