Writers conferences, workshops, and other learning places
DURING THE PANDEMIC:
Please note that with coronavirus many conferences and festivals that were scheduled to be held in person were re-scheduled to be virtual conferences. You won't get to meet people in person, but a virtual conference means that you might now be able to afford a conference that, hotel costs included, was unaffordable before. And you won't have to travel to be there. A few organizations are making their online events free to members.
If an organization has canceled an event altogether, you may have to contact them to request a refund; it probably won't come automatically. Poets & Writers is posting notices of cancellations and postponements here: Cancellations and Postponements: Retreats and Contests Affected by the Crisis (Poets & Writers). Let me know of others doing so. Chances are, some events will disappear on us.
A thought for these times from writer Damian Barr:
'We are not all in the same boat.
We are all in the same storm.
Some of us are on super-yachts.
Some have just the one oar.'
Check to be sure the coronavirus (especially Omicron) hasn't disrupted an event's schedule in 2022. I have not indicated such changes here.
Conferences, in alphabetical order
Books fairs and festivals
Calendars and lists of book fairs, conferences, and festivals
Festivals and conferences for Latinx writers
Iowa Writers' Workshop vs. NYC
(MFA programs vs. the hard streets of Manhattan publishing)
Online writers workshops
Writers colonies (aka residencies, communities, retreats)
Local and regional organizations and events
(many local conferences listed here that don't appear in section on Conferences)
Critique groups and writing workshops
(improving your writing, reporting and speaking skills; mastering multimedia; making the most of Word software; Choosing the right equipment, software, tools; and Tech tutorials for computer novices).
On writing and the writing life
Writers groups and communities
Book Fairs and FestivalsCheck to be sure the coronavirus hasn't disrupted an event's schedule. And if a link doesn't work, do a search for "name or location of festival" + "festival" or "fair" or "conference" to find current info.
Where the fairs and festivals are
(Scroll down for articles on whether and how to participate as an author)
At these fairs, agents, publishers, and booksellers have traditionally negotiated rights deals and distribution. I am listing the major fairs so that people know what those fairs are, but Covid has changed everything. Always check to see if an event is actually going to happen.
• National Book Festival (Library of Congress, Washington DC) Video on demand.
• BookFairs.com (North American book fairs and festivals).
• Shaw Guides (find events by state or category)
• Book fairs by state (Library of Congress)
• Book Festivals (bookfestivals.com)
• 25 of the Best Annual Book Festivals Around The World (Writing Tips Oasis, 2014) Not up to date but it does give you a sense of all the fairs and festivals that used to happen.
• A New Book Expo? Not By a Long Shot (Jim Milliot, Claire Kirch and Nathalie op de Beeck, Publishers Weekly, 6-10-22. Read this for the Big Picture!) This was the "big one," but the last BookExpo (aka BookExpo and BookCon) was held in 2019. Interviews with many publishers, booksellers, and other publishing players yielded one consensus: if a new show is to be developed, it should not look like the retired BookExpo. No one wants a new show whose business model would rely on exhibitors taking out large, expensive booths. A handful of online conferences have sprung up to fill the void left by BookExpo's demise, including the PW-produced U.S. Book Show. (PW has announced plans for a third U.S. Book Show, currently set for May 23–25, 2023.) But don't take any traditional book fair happening for granted. Covid has changed everything.
---BookExpo and BookCon Are No More (Jim Milliot, PW, 12-1-20) U.S. book publishing’s biggest trade show is being “retired,” show organizer ReedPop announced. BookExpo, along with BookCon and Unbound, will not be held in 2021 after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Stay tuned.
---The old Book Expo America (BEA), including New York Rights Fair, the international adult and children's content and licensing marketplace. "It's all about the content. It's only in New York." Traditionally the place where traditional publishers sell foreign rights, but attendance now is down substantially. BookCon (which happens after Expo) is for fans, not for rights sales.
• Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Part of Frankfurt Book Fair in 2022
• Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse)
• The London Book Fair
• Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL Guadalajara)
• Hong Kong Book Fair (July)
• New Delhi World Book Fair
• Wigtown Book Festival Organized by Shaun Bythell, author of The Diary of a Bookseller and Confessions of a Bookseller
• The Fairs
• Local and regional U.S. writers organizations and events (including book fairs and festivals)
• Book Fairs and Festivals (BOOK TV) C-SPAN video coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country.
• Book Fair calendar (antiquarian book fairs, Book Source Magazine)<
• Hay Festival of Literature and Arts (Hay on Wye, Wales)
• Stockholm Writers Festival
Tips for authors
Some conferences emphasize the craft of writing more than the business of writing; some strike a balance. Smaller conferences are sometimes better for networking. Consider volunteering. It's a good way to get to know people and those connections can pay off in unexpected ways, sometimes long after the event. People are more likely to recommend someone they have met personally.
• 10 Tips for Authors Going to Their First Book Fair (Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader, 5-19-19) Very helpful -- especially, offer chocolate, which draws people to your booth, and bring a tablet so people can sign up for your emails, etc.
• Are book festivals fair to authors? (Lily Ion Mackenzie, 6-15-2020)
• The 12 Commandments of Selling Books at Book Fairs, Conventions, and Festivals (Terry Cordingley, on The Savvy Book Marketer)
• How to Maximize a Book Festival Appearance: 9 Tips (Chuck Sambuchino, Writer's Digest, 10-13-13)
• Book Fair Bewares (Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware,
• How Authors Are Chosen for Book Fairs (Valerie Peterson, About Money) Interview with Miami Book Fair International's Paola Fernandez-Rana
• Book Festivals - Literary Festivals Are Great for Writers and Readers (Valerie Peterson, About Money)
• How to Maximize a Book Festival Appearance: 9 Tips (Chuck Sambuchino,Writer's Digest, 10-13-13)
• Publishing Conferences & Book Fairs – What’s In Them for Self-Published Authors? (Debbie Young, Alliance of Independent Authors, 2-14-14)
• Authors Guide to the Frankfurt Book Fair (Hannah Johnson, Publishing Perspectives)
• How to Survive One of the World’s Biggest Literary Festivals (Lit Hub, 5-21-18) Hay Festival of Literature and Arts co-founder and one the current directors, Peter Florence, answers ten questions about how to survive one of the world’s largest book festivals, from the weirdest thing that’s ever happened at Hay, to his all-time favorite event.<
Check to be sure the coronavirus hasn't disrupted an event's schedule.
Calendars and lists of
book fairs, colonies, conferences, and festivals
• Book Fairs, Festivals in U.S.A. (Book TV's links)
• Conferences, Workshops, and Seminars (AgentQuery's list, with descriptions)
• The top 10 writing conferences in North America (The Writer)
• List of (and links to) writers' conferences (Wikipedia)
• Poets & Writers Conferences and Residencies Database
• Writers' Residencies & Colonies (AgentQuery)
• Shaw Guide to Writers Conferences and Workshops Handy reference tool, especially if you are looking for an event to go to in a specific month or of a certain type.
• The top 10 writing conferences in North America. Jennifer Mattson (in The Writer, 1-17-17) describes The Muse and the Marketplace, The American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference (ASJA), San Francisco Writers Conference, BinderCon, Literary Writers Conference, San Miguel Writers’ Conference, . Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA), The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).
• Top 20 Seminar Scams and How to Avoid Them (Tom Antion, Great Public Speaking 7-23-13)
• AWP's list of, links to, writers conferences (with dates) and its searchable Directory of Conferences & Centers (a public international directory of conferences, centers, festivals, residencies, and retreats), posted by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs
• Writers' Conferences & Centers (members only, Association of Writers & Writing Programs, AWP)
• Indie author conferences & events 2019 (JD Lasica, Best of Indie, 3-28-18) "So here’s our first annual SuperGuide to conferences, book gatherings and reader events of interest to independent authors. Tip: Cut out this cheat sheet and tape it to your office wall. Even if you’re not going, you can follow the hashtags of most of these events on Twitter."
• Best Writers Conferences: Top 11 Conferences for Authors (Scott Allan, Self-Publishing.com, and hence geared somewhat to authors interested in self-publishing) Information about San Francisco Writers Conference, San Miguel Writers Conference and Literary Festival, Digital Author and Indie Publishing Conference, Author Advantage Live, Santa Barbara Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference, Writer's Digest Annual Conference, Writing Day Workshops, Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), and SleuthFest.
• Select Book Conferences, Festivals, and Fairs in 2020 (Publishers Weekly) and Writers Conferences, Festivals, and Book Fairs (PW's annual rundown of book fairs and writers’ conferences)
• Writing Conferences and Events (New Pages). Scroll down for Complete Conference List by state. See also New Pages' Graduate Creative Writing Programs (by state)
Iowa Writers' Workshop vs. NYCMFA programs vs. the hard streets of Manhattan publishing)
• Iowa Writers' Workshop (the granddaddy of them all, a two-year residency program with fiction and poetry workshops, culminating in submission of a creative thesis (a novel, a collection of stories, or a book of poetry) and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
• Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Famous for Training Top Writers, Turns 75 (transcript of PBS show, 4-7-11, with Jim Lehrer, Jeffrey Brown, Marcus Burke, Lan Samantha Chang, Allan Gurganus). "...it’s been home to a roll call of literary lights, graduates such as Flannery O’Connor, Wallace Stegner, John Irving, Rita Dove, and last year’s Pulitzer winner for fiction, Paul Harding, teachers including John Cheever, Robert Frost, Robert Penn Warren, and, currently, Pulitzer-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson."
"Thirty-five years ago, there were just 79 writing programs around the country. Today, there are more than 800. And that’s brought new questions: What happens to all those graduates? And what’s the impact on American fiction and poetry?"
• How Iowa Flattened Literature (Eric Bennett, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2-10-14) With CIA help, writers were enlisted to battle both Communism and eggheaded abstraction. The damage to writing lingers.
As interpreted: The CIA Helped Build the Content Farm That Churns Out American Literature (Brian Merchant, Vice, Motherboard, 2-11-14) According to Merchant, Eric Bennett makes a case that the Iowa program, arguably the most influential force in modern American literature, was profoundly shaped by a CIA-backed effort to promote a brand of literature that trumpeted American individualism and materialism over airy socialistic ideals. Read: More Hemingway, less Dos Passos.
• MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction by Chad Harbach. "In a widely read essay entitled 'MFA vs NYC,' bestselling novelist Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding) argued that the American literary scene has split into two cultures: New York publishing versus university MFA programs. This book brings together established writers, MFA professors and students, and New York editors, publicists, and agents to talk about these overlapping worlds, and the ways writers make (or fail to make) a living within them. Should you seek an advanced degree, or will workshops smother your style? Do you need to move to New York, or will the high cost of living undo you? What’s worse—having a day job or not having health insurance? How do agents decide what to represent? Will Big Publishing survive? How has the rise of MFA programs affected American fiction? The expert contributors, including George Saunders, Elif Batuman, and Fredric Jameson, consider all these questions and more, with humor and rigor. MFA vs NYC is a must-read for aspiring writers, and for anyone interested in the present and future of American letters."
• The M.F.A. Workshop: From Red Ink to Published Book (Julie Buntin, Publishers Weekly, 8-22-14) What goes on in a creative writing workshop anyway? Some argue that "being read and critiqued by other beginning writers may not be the best way for aspiring authors to hone their craft," but one workshop participant and novelist, Scott Cheshire, says “Contrary to popular belief, if you are really interested in being a writer, then you must be a stellar reader, and this is truly what the M.F.A. is for—to make you a better reader." Buntin also wrote this follow-up: Doctor of Creativity: M.F.A. Update 2014 (PW, 8-22-14) "...the Ph.D. program is slowly and steadily insinuating itself into the academic creative writing marketplace....Now there are enough to warrant their own Poets & Writers ranking—among the top 15 are the Ph.D. programs at Utah, USC, and Florida State."
• Why Writers Love Low-Residency Programs: M.F.A. Update 2014 (Julie Buntin, PW, 8-22-14) An M.F.A. No Matter Where You Are
• MFA Programs, overview (Poets & Writers)
• MFA Programs Database (Poets&Writers)
• The Poets & Writers Guide to MFA Programs
• MFA Programs: What are they and how do they work? (Cynthia Rosi, ASJA blog, 10-15-14) The pros and cons of the two types of MFA programs: low-residency, and on-campus.
• The Low-Residency MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Creative Writing Students by Lori A. May
• M.F.A. 2014 Database (Publishers Weekly)
• The Shifting Culture of American Fiction with Chad Harbach (transcript from Kojo Nnandi Show, 5-22-14). Listen here.
• Creative Writing, via a Workshop or the Big City (Dwight Garner, NY Times book review, 2-25-14) A review of Chad Harbach's book and a survey of its messages.
• “MFA vs NYC”: Both, Probably (Andrew Martin, New Yorker, 3-25-14). An interesting and informative essay about the situation and the book
• Yes, Book Editors Edit (Barry Harbaugh, New Yorker, 3-28-14) "Where do book editors fit in the culture of American fiction? After reading “MFA vs NYC,” the provocative essay collection edited by Chad Harbach and published by the literary magazine n+1, one might be forgiven for thinking that we don’t fit anywhere at all." This piece is "on behalf of a cohort glaringly absent in this otherwise charming collection: those who feel that they hold the power (editors) coming up against those who—despite their talent, resolve, and debt—feel that they don’t (writers)."
• Get a Real Degree (Elif Batuman, London Review of Books, Sept. 2010). An essay and review of the book The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing by Mark McGurl. A well-stated negative view of writing workshops, with sentences like this: "Shame engenders both Carver’s taciturnity and Oates’s graphomania, which is really a compulsion to restage the outcasts contest, doing everyone justice, and constituting a proof that writing, too, is real work."
• Why critics of MFA programs have it wrong (Curtis Sittenfeld, Salon, 10-22-11) The Iowa Writers' Workshop director defends MFAs, laments young stardom and book-world cynicism. He also gives some numbers, and writes "for those of us who work and teach at the program, who see the Workshop as a quirky home for gifted misfits, we’re thrilled when people show signs of promise, but we also know that it takes a long time, sometimes decades, for talent to mature."
• Some Things I Didn't Realize About Myself Before I Wrote Them Down (Stefani Nellen, Glimmer Train) Her personal essay applying for an MFA in Creative Writing at Bennington College. Included here because it so rises above the level of most applications I've seen!
Writers colonies (aka residencies, communities, retreats)
• What’s the Deal with Writing Residencies? (Sandra Beasley talks to Elisa Gabbert, Electric Lit, 3-27-17) The Blunt Instrument on the ins and outs of residencies for authors: what value are they to writers, do they look good on a resume, how do you find the right one for you? Are there different residencies for different genres? Any specific recommendations for women, writers of color, writers with disabilities, chronic illnesses or other special needs? Also to consider: Does the residency encourage group interaction, as at meals? Is the studio where you work separate from where you sleep? For some, the prestige of the place matters. For others, it's more important how much work you can get done, or how quiet or beautiful the surroundings are.
• Artist Residency Programs (Beltway Poetry Quarterly). Kim Roberts' index of artist residency programs (AIRs), colonies, retreats.
• Poets&Writers database of more than 300 conferences and residencies)
• Twenty-Two of the Most Inspiring Writers Retreats in the Country (Poets&Writers, 2-13-19) Short full descriptions by authors who attended them.
• Alliance of Artists Communities guide to residencies for visual artists, writers, composers, choreographers, scholars, filmmakers, community artists, architects, and more.
• RES ARTIS: International Association of Residential Art Centres (worldwide network of artists residencies)
• Residencies for Writers in 2017 (Aerogramme Writers' Studio)
• 46 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 202037 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 2018 and 31 to attend in 2017 (Susan Shain, The Write Life) "Whereas writer’s residencies are mostly about working in solitude, and conferences focus on networking and lectures, writing retreats fall somewhere in between. Most of them are in beautiful locations (where, presumably, your creative juices will flow more easily), and offer a combination of tours, workshops and interaction with a small group of writers. They're often pricey." Check the comments. Many of these are outside the United States.
• Writer Retreats (WOW, Women on Writing)
• All About Writers Colonies (Nova Ren Suma). Comments on
---Atlantic Center for the Arts (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
---The Anderson Center (Red Wing, MN)
---Art Omi (formerly Ledig House, Ghent, New York)
---Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto Island, Ontario, Canada)
---Blue Mountain Center (Blue Mountain Lake, NY)
---Château de Lavigny (in a small village between Geneva and Lausanne, overlooking Lake Geneva and the Alps)
---Djerassi (Santa Cruz Mountains, northern CA)
---Hedgebrook (Whidbey Island, in Puget Sound, WA, women only)
---MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH)
---Millay Colony for the Arts (Berkshire foothills of Austerlitz, NY)
---The Norman Mailer Summer Writers Colony (Wilkes-Barre)
---Santa Fe Art Institute (Santa Fe, NM)
---Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT)
---Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA, Amherst, VA)
---Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY--very competitive; difficult to get in)
To which Poets&Writers and others add:
• Aspen Summer Words (Aspen, Colorado)
• BOAAT Writer’s Retreat (Vilas, North Carolina)
• Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts at the base of the Medicine Bow National Forest outside of Saratoga, in southern Wyoming
• CantoMundo Retreat (LatinX poetry, Tucson, AZ)
• Community of Writers at Squaw Valley (near Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California)
• Dorland Mountain Arts Colony (near Temecula Valley wine country, about 100 miles south of Los Angeles and sixty miles north of San Diego)
• Fine Arts Work Center (Provincetown, Massachusetts)
• Jentel Artist Residency (southeast of Sheridan, Wyoming)
• Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference (Alaska)
• Kauai Writers Conference (Hawaii)
• Key West Literary Seminar (San Carlos Institute in Key West, Florida)
• Murphy Writing of Stockton University Retreats in the U.S. and abroad, for poets, writers and teachers.
• Port Townsend Writers’ Conference (Fort Worden State Park, Washington state)
• Ragdale (Lake Forest, Illinois, 50 minutes from Chicago)
• Storyknife (a women writers retreat in Homer, Alaska)
• Tassajara Zen Mountain Center (a couple of writing workshops during the week, at a location 17 miles from paved roads--a Zen retreat described beautifully by Naomi Shihab Nye for Poets & Writers
• Tin House Summer Workshop (Portland, Oregon)
• Writeaways (New Mexico, France, Italy)
• Alliance of Artists Communities
• Colonies, Conferences, and Festivals (Poetry Society of America links)
• Directory of Writers' Colonies John Hewitt, PoeWar) Names, addresses, and phone numbers--no URLs or email addresses.
• Residencies (Alliance of Artists Communities) "Two weeks in the south of France to edit a book of poetry. Three months in a mill building in Massachusetts to work on a film. A year in the mountains to sculpt. A semester in Taiwan to compose. With 100s of residency programs worldwide, the choice is up to you." Some are listed under Local and regional writers organizations.
• 6 Insider Tips for Finding and Applying to Writers’ Colonies (Brian Klems, Writer's Digest 1-14-14)
• What I Did at Summer Writers’ Camp (Rachel Donadio, NY Times Book Review, 8-20-08)
• When you’re ready to move from summer reading to summer writing (Jennifer Howard, Washington Post, 6-10-17) Howard writes about several specialized retreats: the Iceland Writers Retreat, a cookNscribble retreat, Summer in Granada retreat, Writers Who Run, Storyknife Writers Retreat, Interlochen Writers Retreat.
• A Writers Retreat in England (Aug. 10-18, 2018) Worton Park, The Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, with enticing side trips (Stratford-upon-Avon, Roman Britain, London, Bath and Stonehenge).
• Writers' Residences and Colonies (AgentQuery.com)
• Writing residencies and conferences (Meghan Ward, 2010)
• Retreats for Writers closed down.
• Conferences and Residencies Database (Poets & Writers' extensive listings)
• Twenty-Two of the Most Inspiring Writers Retreats in the Country (Poets & Writers, 2-13-19)
• 26 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year (Kristen Pope, The Write Life, 10-26-15)
• Writers' Colonies, directory of (with links)
Fellowships to specific writers colonies:
• Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow (Moondancer fellowship for writing about nature and the outdoors, My Time Fellowship for Writers with Children, and Eat-Write Culinary Fellowship)
[Back to Top]
Check to be sure COVID hasn't disrupted an event's schedule in 2022
All the rest (Conferences, especially) in alphabetical order
•A • B • C • D • E • F • G • H • I • J • K • L • M • N • O • P • Q • R • S • T • U • V • W • X • Y • Z
• The Accelerated Learning Fieldbook: Making the Instructional Process Fast, Flexible, and Fun by Lou Russell. How to create talks and workshops that inspire people, create enthusiasm AND present information in a way that people will easily take it in and remember it.
• ACES (national conference of the American Copy Editors Society). Covers broad array of topics, from nuts-and-bolts techniques, style and problems (e.g., plagiarism) to industry trends and career management." The Associated Press often announces big changes to the year's edition of its stylebook. Welcoming atmosphere.
• Algonkian Conferences (novel writing). Algonkian fiction writers conferences began in 2002 on the banks of the Potomac in northern Virginia. Where they are held seems to change. See FAQs about Algonkian writer conferences and Syllabus.
• American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and LibLearnX. See Why Writers Should Care About the ALA Annual Conferences (author Jesse Byrd, 7-5-18)
• American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA) conference ( for freelance journalists and nonfiction book authors). Typically late April, early May--One day for members only, the next open to public--but this may change. Order recordings from ASJA conferences here.
• American Christian Fiction Conference
• Asian American Writers’ Workshop is devoted to creating, publishing, developing and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans and nurturing a new generation of Asian diasporic writers.
• Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), an annual conference that draws thousands -- authors, teachers, and people from writing programs, literary centers, and small press publishers. "Hard to beat for price, quality, and variety of topics, events, readings, etc." AWP offers three annual scholarships, The Kurt Brown Prizes, of $500 each to emerging writers (of of fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction) who wish to attend a writers' conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency that is listed on AWP's directory of Writers' Conferences & Centers.
• Audit courses at University of Oxford (listen free to podcasts of courses at the oldest university in the English-speaking world)
• Associated Writing Program (AWP) Guide to Writing Programs.
• Banff Centre (Leighton Artists' Colony, Alberta, Canada) A space to hone skills and develop work with expert faculty in contemporary literature
• Bay to Ocean Writers Conference (Eastern Shore Writers Association, serving Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, aka Delmarva)
• Bloody Words (alas, goodbye to the Toronto mystery conference)
• Bindercon (Out of the Binders, Inc.) to empower women and gender non‑conforming writers with tools, connections, and strategies to advance their careers. New York and Los Angeles conferences. Read Meghan O'Dea piece about the first conference, and the power of female communities) (Huff Post, 10-14-14)
• BIO conference (Biographers International Organization) Biographers, memoirists, editors, agents, publishers network and deepen their knowledge of and commitment to the craft of life writing.
• BlogHer (presented by SHE Media) Celebrating female storytellers who use their voices to raise awareness for our collective health. Follow on Facebook (a community forum and private network for women content creators and entrepreneurs to connect, discuss, and share).
• BookExpo and BookCon Are No More (Jim Milliott, Publishers Weekly, 10-1-2020) BookExpo was the biggest North American publishing conference, featuring the latest in print and digital book publishing, attended by booksellers, librarians, authors, and specialty retailers. It was followed by BookCon, the book fan convention (taking its name from such fan conventions as ComicCon), where fans flock to see their favorite authors, hoping to collect free books and swag. See BookCon 2019: Mixed Reviews for This Year's Literary Fan Fest (Claire Kirch, PW, 6-3-19) "Many attendees PW spoke to praised this year’s show for its slate of A-list authors, provocative panels, and overall nerdy vibe, but some complained that BookCon had, in one critic’s tweet, 'no life, there’s no spirit, there’s hardly any ARC drops or free books.' [ARCs are advance reading copies, or bound galleys.]
• Book Passage's Mystery Writers Conference (July, Corte Madera, CA 94925, near San Francisco). Not happening during the pandemic.
• Books Alive!, an annual conference about books organized by David O. Stewart and the crew of the Washington Independent Review of Books, conference held most recently at the Pooks Hill Marriott in Bethesda, MD, just north of Washington DC. Not on during the pandemic. I enjoyed the first several annual conferences sponsored by the Washington Independent Review of Books, and learned things, too. I loved its focus on books, both fiction and nonfiction, both highbrow and lowbrow.
• Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention Held in August or September. Scheduled: Minneapolis, Sept. 2022; San Diego, Aug. 2023; Nashville, Aug. 2024; New Orleans, Sept. 2025.
• Bread Loaf Conferences (aka Middlebury Bread Loaf Conferences). The original Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference was held in Vermont each August, Bread Loaf has expanded to include programs for environmental writers and literary translators as well as an international program in Sicily.
---Bread Loaf Middlebury Writers' Conference (held on the Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont, August). A conference with a long, distinguished reputation.
---Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference (an annual, week-long writers’ conference, in June, based on the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model, and designed to hone the skills of people interested in producing literary writing about the environment and the natural world). Here is Chelsea Biondolillo's conference diary after 1.5 days (Roaming Cowgirl blog, 6-10-14)
---Bread Loaf in Sicily
---Bread Loaf Translators' Conference (June)
• CAMPFIRE (Amazon Campfire)
---Star-studded Campfire a well-kept secret, for better or worse (Bruce Krasnow, Santa Fe New Mexican, 10-19-15) So it's not just writers.
---Local authors fume as Bezos holds secret Santa Fe retreat (Anne Constable, The New Mexican 9-20-14) “'Every year, Jeff Bezos of Amazon invites authors, artists, musicians and other creative people for a secret, swag-laden get together called Campfire,' said Authors United organizer Doug Preston, a writer who lives part time in Santa Fe."
---Neil Gaiman Hints at the Talk Around Jeff Bezos’s Campfire (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 9-21-14)
---A Writerly Chill at Jeff Bezos’ Campfire (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 9-20-14) "Amazon’s acrimonious battle with Hachette, the fourth-largest publisher, is fracturing the secrecy and sapping some of the good will. "
• Christian writers conferences
---American Christian Fiction Writers Conference
---Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
---Colorado Christian Writers Conference
---Florida Christian Writers Conference
---Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference
---Mount Herman Christian Writers Conference (No longer being held. Was in Felton, California, south of San Jose)
---Oregon Christian Writers Conference
---Write to Publish Conference (June, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois)
• The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop (training writers of science fiction and fantasy since 1968) From 1972 through 2006, Clarion was hosted by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. In 2007 Clarion relocated to the beautiful beachside campus of the University of California, San Diego. "An intense six-week program where students are producing a lot of new material under high pressure, with the guidance of accomplished instructors, such as Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link"--Stefani Nellen on Glimmer Train
• COMPUTER ASSISTED REPORTING (CAR)
---NICAR Boot Camps Attend any one of several NICAR boot camps to learn to acquire electronic information; learn how to analyze data using spreadsheets and databases, map data, or use coding in your work; use spreadsheets and databases to analyze information and translate that information into stories. These boot camps are offered several times each year. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data to work on during open lab time. NICAR is a joint program of IRE and the Missouri School of Journalism.
---IRE and NICAR conferences Two annual conferences offered by Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE). The CAR conference offers something for everyone, from beginners to those on the cutting edge of digital reporting.
• Copyeditors' Knowledge Base section on Education and Certification (KOK Edit: Katharine O'Moore-Clopf) Invaluable comprehensive listing of training opportunities for editors, copyeditors, proofreaders.
• DisCon3 The World Science Fiction Convention
• Dean Wesley Smith's online fiction workshops , broken down into foundation courses and more craft-focused courses.
• DPLAfests (Digital Public Library of America). Read DPLA's history. The DPLA staff has grown from four employees into a team of librarians, historians, educators, technologists, and strategists.
• Drupal Camps and Cons. Read What is a Drupal Meet Up, Drupal Camp, and a DrupalCon? (Elliot Christenson, myDropWizard.com, 9-13-16) A Drupal Meet Up is typically a local group of Drupal developers and enthusiasts, usually featuring a single speaker. A Drupal Camp is a slightly more formal group of Drupal developers, enthusiasts, and vendors, typically meeting annually. DrupalCon is an official event put on by the Drupal association, held two or three times a year at various (changing) sites. Thousands of Drupal users and developers and hundreds of Drupal vendors attend to help share ideas through session tracks, vendor booths, informal birds of a feather BOF activities. For example, from Drupal Camp 2010, listen to sessions in audio, including Josh Ward of Volacci on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
• The Economist's Ideas Economy conferences (held at different times, in the Americas--press covers to keep abreast about trends that cross bounds of politics, culture and technology). On The Economist's website, read about World Ocean Summit, Argentina Summit, Innovation Summit America, Sustainability Summit, Pride and Prejudice (the path to advocacy).
• Editors Canada Conference
• 826 National an international conference of 826-inspired nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students 6 to 18 learn to write.
• Editorial Freelancers Association's active courses EFA members are editors, writers, indexers, proofreaders, researchers, desktop publishers, translators, and others who offer a broad range of skills and specialties. Courses include editing, copyediting, indexing, structural editing, magazine writing, copyright basics, Adobe Indesign. See also EFA events.
• eLearning Guild Conferences The eLearning Guild hosts three major events each year with large vendor/supplier expositions:
---Learning Solutions Conference and Expo
---DevLearn Conference & Expo
• Excellence in Journalism conference (sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Radio Television Digital News Association, and National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Also, SPJ has grant money that allows them to bring training to news outlets and universities in sessions on such topics as mobile newsgathering, writing for the web, social media listening tools, ways to verify sources and stories, using social tools to be a better journalist, video tips and techniques, etc.
• Family History and Genealogy Conference
• Fellowships and Grants (Writers and Editors, long list)
• Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching (June, Franconia, New Hampshire)
• F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival (October, Rockville, Maryland)
• The Frost Place Conference on Poetry a week-long “intensive poetry camp” for writers deeply committed to learning more about the craft of writing poetry.
• Global Investigative Journalism Network's conference brings together thousands of participants from 100 countries. Member organizations also hold regional conferences, such as thePower Reporting Conference, sponsored by the Forum for African Investigative Reporters and Wits University in Johannesburg.
• Gotham Writers Workshop, founded in New York City, one of the largest U.S. adult education writing schools, and one of the first "to offer online education, launching its online creative writing classes in 1997." One writer told Authors Guild members how she learned to "pitch her novel to New York" at Gotham, where she appreciated the workshop content, feedback from classmates and instructors, and the chance to submit work for possible publication at the end of the course (she did and got a publisher).
• Grub Street Seminars and Weekend Workshops (Boston) include a Weekend of Manuscript Consultations (March, $140, with submissions in February) followed by Muse and the Marketplace conference in May. Here's Dell Smith's review from the 2009 M&M conference.
• Health Journalism conference (Association of Health Care Journalists) This annual conferences (in a different city every year) is one of the best writers conferences in the country -- a truly informative conference, with workshops about both writing and health care topics)
• Highlight Foundation Workshops for Children's Writers and Illustrators (seminars, small-group workshops, and one-on-one sessions with some of the most accomplished and prominent authors, illustrators, editors, critics, and publishers in the world of children’s literature) "Whether you want to spend a long weekend immersed in a topic, retreat for a week to finish your novel, or dive into an intense week-long retreat guided by award-winning authors, we have the perfect workshop for you."
• Historical Novel Society conference . North American branch of the London-based HNS holds a conference for authors and readers of historical fiction every two years--this year June 21-23, 2013, in St. Petersburg, FL.
• History Quill Writers Convention A virtual convention for historical fiction writers. Wednesday 1 February – Sunday 5 February, 2023.
• How to Pitch Your Novel at a Writer's Conference (Cliff Daigle, The Balance, 1-27-19)
• HP Learning Center: Microsoft Office and Adobe (free online classes, available 24/7; topics include Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint,Digital Photos, etc. Go to www.hp.com/go/learningcenter.
• International Women's Writing Guild (IWWG) holds summer conference (July, with scholarships available), retreats, and an emerging online learning hub.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE's) training events . IRE offers a powerful conference, where attendees pick up great story ideas, new tools, and make good conndctions. IRE also offers several more specific types of training, from computer-assisted reporting boot camps to focused, multi-day workshops to train investigative reporting techniques. At the Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) Boot Camps, for example, you learn to acquire electronic information, use spreadsheets and databases to analyze information and translate that information into stories. Esther Kaplan wrote, on LinkedIn (in answer to a question about which conferences are worth attending:) "It's guided by an incredible generosity of spirit, where reporters who have done big investigative pieces over the previous year crack open their notebooks and share how they got the story. Each presenter prepares a tip sheet as a takeaway that I promise you will save and refer to often." See also conferences held by the Global Investigative Journalism Network
• It's 2010 — er, 2011! Where's your career heading? (Bevi Chagnon, PubCom, on which training courses you should be getting)
• Jackson Hole Writers Conference (June, Jackson Hole). A small, well-regarded three-day conference (with pre-conference workshops) at a beautiful site in the Grand Tetons. You get one-on-one critiques (15 pages, three presenters). Conference relatively inexpensive; accommodations, pricey (book early).
• Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) has an annual JAWS Camp (Conference and Mentoring Project), which brings together women journalists and journalism educators and researchers to meet in an atmosphere of mutual support, professional growth and a chance to exercise the tongue instead of biting it.
• Computer-Assisted Reporting conference (IRE and NICAR sponsor annual conference devoted to data journalism)
• Power of Narrative Conference Boston University, March -- telling true stories -- staying savvy, skilled, and solvent in journalism's wired era)
• Conferences on nonfiction narrative, literary nonfiction, longform journalism
• Out of the Binders (L.A. BinderCom) (April, UCLA -- conference & community for women and gender variant writers). A symposium to empower women and gender non-conforming writers with tools, connections, and strategies to advance their careers.
• Society of American Business Editors and Writers spring conference (for business editors and reporters)
• Health Journalism conference (April various locations, Association of Health Care Journalists, AHCJ)
• American Society of Journalists and Writers (ASJA) (April-May, Roosevelt Hotel, NYC, for freelance journalists and book authors).
• Muse and the Marketplace (Boston, May). A three-day literary conference designed to give aspiring writers a better understanding of the craft of writing fiction and nonfiction.
• North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) conference and marketplace (May, varied locations, as befits such an organization!)
• Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference (month and site vary) IRE offers a powerful conference, where attendees pick up great story ideas and new tools, and make good connections. IRE also offers several more specific types of training, from computer-assisted reporting boot camps to focused, multi-day workshops to train investigative reporting techniques. At the Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) Boot Camps, for example, you learn to acquire electronic information, use spreadsheets and databases to analyze information and translate that information into stories. Esther Kaplan wrote, on LinkedIn (in answer to a question about which conferences are worth attending:) "It's guided by an incredible generosity of spirit, where reporters who have done big investigative pieces over the previous year crack open their notebooks and share how they got the story. Each presenter prepares a tip sheet as a takeaway that I promise you will save and refer to often." See also conferences held by the Global Investigative Journalism Network, every two years.
• Outdoor Writers Association of California (Big Bear Lake, June 15-16,2015)
• Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference (Grapevine, Texas)
• National Association for Black Journalists convention and career fair (Aug. 5-9, 2015, Minneapolis, MN)
• Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) convention (Aug. 12-15, 2015, San Francisco)
• ONA15 (Sept. 24-26, 2015, Los Angeles, Online News Association)
• Excellent in Journalism conference (Sept. 18-20, 2015, Orlando, Florida) Sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Radio Television Digital News Association, and National Association of Hispanic Journalists. SPJ also has grant money that allows them to bring training to news outlets and universities in sessions on such topics as mobile newsgathering, writing for the web, social media listening tools, ways to verify sources and stories, using social tools to be a better journalist, video tips and techniques, etc.
• Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference (Oct. 7-11, 2015, Norman, Oklahoma -- reportedly an exceptional conference)
• Global Investigative Journalism Conference (Oct. 8-11, Lillehamer, Norway).
• Journalism & Women Symposium annual conference (Conference and Mentoring Project, or CAMP, Oct. 28-80, 2015 Roanoke, Virginia)
• ScienceWriters2015 (National Association of Science Writers, Oct. 9-13, Cambridge, Massachusetts)
• Poynter Training. A top training organization in journalism, with boot camps, self-directed training, etc, on such topics as: Reporting, writing for TV and the Web; Writing for the Ear; Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style, and more; Writing Better Headlines and SEO Essentials; Watching TV News--How to Be a Better Viewer; Beat Basics--introduction to reporting.
• Key West Literary Seminar , a four-day readers’ event that explores a unique literary theme each January in a great Florida location. A separate Writers' Workshop program is also held in January. Audio archive. More than 500 presentations by or conversations between influential writers are available for use by educators, students, and readers worldwide. You can play many recordings immediately from the audio vault; others are available by request.
• Key West Mystery Fest
• Kenyon Review Workshops: Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, Poetry (June-July, a summer week in Ohio, $2,295). Here's an interesting review of Richard Gilbert's experience there: Among the Poets: Surprise, delight & mastery: with one's tribe on Kenyon's campus "The challenging and transformative aspect of the conference at Kenyon is that it’s generative. You don’t send ahead a manuscript or bring one with you. You create new work right there, from prompts given in the workshops themselves. You share it with your classmates, and at some point you read your best piece to everyone."
• Las Vegas Writer's Conference (April)
• Left Coast Crime, an annual mystery convention sponsored by mystery fans, both readers and authors, early in year along the West Coast (and in Hawaii). The April 2022 conference is scheduled for Albuquerque, New Mexico.
• Literary Writers Conference November, NYC, Community of Literary Magazines and Presses in conjunction with the National Book Foundation and The New School Graduate Writing Program) A two-day conference for fiction, poetry. and creative nonfiction writers.
• The MacDowell Colony (Petersborough, New Hampshire), founded in 1907, is the oldest artists' colony in the U.S., providing both an honor and an opportunity to work, facilitating focused work and interdisciplinary interaction, among composers, writers, architects, film and video artists. Read Artists Retreat into Solitude at MacDowell Colony (Art Silverman, NPR, 3-6-07)
• Magna cum Murder Crime Writing Festival (Ball State University, Muncie or Indianapolis, Indiana, October)
• Malice Domestic (spring convention in Bethesda, MD, just outside DC, saluting the traditional, especially "cozy," mystery, where fans buy books from enthusiastic, often new, writers) and The Usual Suspects (the Malice Domestic newsletter); Malice Domestic awards.
• Mastering Multimedia (on this website) Links to tutorials on audio, video, images, interviewing--techniques, software, equipment
• Maui Writers Conference (aka Hawaii Writers Conference) ended a successful 17-year run in 2010.
• Mid-Atlantic Mystery Writers of America University
• Midwest Mystery Conference (formerly Murder and Mayhem in Chicago, a bi-annual event featuring some of the Midwest’s top mystery/crime writers, with crime readers and librarians hoping to find new books to read and aspiring crime writers hoping to learn about the mystery community and writing and publishing careers.
• Muse and the Marketplace. Three-day Boston literary conference for aspiring writers of fiction and nonfiction, sponsored by Grub Street. For an additional fee, writers can get 20 minutes of feedback on a manuscript from an agent or editor.
• New York Times Learning Network, online courses, including Creative Writing and Nonfiction Writing. Here's a list of all categories in which classes are taught.
• NICAR, IRE, and CAR training . See Investigative Reporters & Editors, above. IRE offers a national conference and several local boot camps on computer-assisted reporting (CAR).
• NonfictioNow Conference (a biennial international gathering of about 400 nonfiction writers, teachers, readers and student for conversations about the past, present and future of nonfiction storytelling in all its forms, from literary and political essays and memoir to reality TV--from the video essay and graphic essays to the memoir, lyric essay, and literary journalism. The 2018 conference was in Phoenix, 2017 was in Iceland, 2020 will be in Wellington, New Zealand.
• Nonfiction Writers Conference (this virtual event features 15 speakers over three days, with attendees participating via phone or Skype). Download handouts here.
• The Novelists, Inc.(NINC) Conference. A gathering of multi-published, multi-genre authors who publish traditionally, independently, or both. Usually 300 +/- professional writers (no beginners, hobbyists, or fans). Only members, industry guests, and "authors assistants" may attend. Membership requirements include at least two published novels of at least 30,000 words earning a $2000+ advance OR $2000+ over 12 consecutive months with a traditional publisher OR $5000+ over 12 consecutive months as an indie title.
• NAGC Communications School (June, National Association of Government Communicators) The only event of its kind geared specifically to the needs of communicators working in federal, state, local, tribal and regional government.
• Napa Valley Writers' Conference A July week of small intensive workshops devoted to generating new poetry and exploring the craft of fiction & translation.
• NASW ScienceWriters conference (National Association of Science Writers annual conference is usually interesting.
• National Book Festival (Washington, DC, Library of Congress, annual big-deal event) Check out videos from previous Bookfests.
• National Storytelling Festival (Jonesboro, Tennessee, every fall, International Storytelling Center) Oral storytelling, and very engaging.
• Nonfiction Writers Conference (NFWC) (Nonfiction Authors Association) Recordings and transcripts are available depending on the registration level you choose. '
• The Nonprofit Storytelling Conference How to tell stories that raise money. "You're just one powerful story away from raising more money and growing your supporter base."
• Online News Association (ONA) conference and awards banquet (to learn about new tools, techniques, technologies, advances in the field, to network and share best practices.
"It's like Disney World for today's journalists," says Ericka Boston. "There's so much to experience and learn (Intro to Data Visualizations, Mobile Storytelling: The Next Level, SMO Is the New SEO) that it can be a bit overwhelming. But you'll go home reinvigorated, ready for future industry curveballs and thinking, 'That was awesome. I can't wait to do it again!'"
• OpenCourseWare (Wikipedia's entry about and listing of courses created by universities and shared freely with the world on the Internet (often partly free). The OCW movement took off with launching of MIT's OpenCourseWare. Check out, for example, MIT OpenCourseWare on Writing and the Humanities (thanks for this link to Chelsea Biondolillo of Transatlantic Enchilada.
• Open Culture ("The best free cultural & educational media on the web"--audio books. online courses, MOOCs,
• Oxford (Mississippi) Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference
• Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Mormon James Goldberg's account of his experience at this fiction writing workshop in 2012 makes it sound worth attending, but I see no listing for it in 2013. Two books of interest by Card: Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet) and Characters & Viewpoint.
•Pacific Northwest Writers Association summer conference
•PENCON, Christian Editors' Conference (a division of Christian Editor Network LLC) -- the only conference for editors in the Christian market.
•Pennwriters Conference (May 16-19, 2019, in Pittsburgh)
•PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature (100+ writers from 40 nations convene in NYC)
•Poynter Training. A top training organization in journalism, with boot camps, self-directed training, etc, on such topics as: Reporting, writing for TV and the Web; Writing for the Ear; Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style, and more; Writing Better Headlines and SEO Essentials; Watching TV News--How to Be a Better Viewer; Beat Basics--introduction to reporting.
•Publishing University Online (Independent Book Publishers Association, IBPA, formerly PMA)
•Retreats for Writers with an interesting chart on relative cost of retreats, by state and a list of retreat deals (inexpensive retreat cities).
•Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference (a gathering of more than 2,100 published and aspiring romance writers, editors, agents, and other industry professionals). One novelist writes: "The New Jersey Put Your Heart in a Book Conference is one of the best alternatives to the national conference because of our friendlier size and proximity to all the editors and agents in New York--plus, we're cheaper! We have workshops, pitch sessions, top-notch keynote speakers, retreats, movie night, and a book fair that is open to the public on Saturday afternoon." Here's one of many stories about this major conference: From literacy to diversity, ideas bloom at romance writers conference (Chaney Skilling, DP, 7-21-18) The conference brought together 2,000 authors, literary agents, and publishers. With nearly 10,000 members internationally, Romance Writers of America is one of the largest writers associations in the country.
'Romance' Is Never a Dirty Word at Romance Writers of America Conference (Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 7-18-09). And here's Once Upon a Romance's list of romance writing workshops, conferences, and writing contests.
•San Francisco Writers Conference (February) Four days in February at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel , 100 sessions, focusing especially on fiction and nonfiction books. A top conference attended by freelance writers, indie authors, editors, agents, and presenters.
•San Miguel Writers' Conference and Literary Festival (February, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico), a big literary conference with live storytelling and a fiesta, as described by Nathan Bransford, literary agent. Effectively a writers colony with authors, writers, industry leaders, and readers from US, Canada, and Mexico flying to a warm, beautiful location (not easy to get to) to enjoy delicious food, three-hour intensive workshops, 12 master classes with over 750 participants, plus another 10,000 seats in eight main-stage ballroom events, expert panels and seminars, and opportunities to meet with agents and editors, including individual consultations or shorter agent pitch sessions. "Warm and inclusive" says one participant. Many come early or stay late a few days to explore the area.
• Santa Barbara Writers Conference (June, five days of authors and publishing professionals mingling, attending author-led workshops, hearing keynote speeches).
•Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop (one must apply to this excellent conference) Read 5 Takeaways from the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop (Georgeann Sack, Writing Cooperative, 4-9-20) Outstanding professional science writers and editors share their wisdom. See also Thinking Story like a Journalist—My Santa Fe Experience (Karen McLeod, Compass, 5-20-13) A scientist learns: "Thinking like a journalist means asking questions. Good science writing is about good questions and the journey to address them, rather than scientific results. Good stories can even be about a failed quest...For journalists it’s ALL about story....and being skeptical."
•SciComm South conference (April, communicating science in the South Central States, for science communicators in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Louisiana)
• Science Fiction and Fantasy (SF&F) Conventions (Wikipedia's list and links)
---Locus guide to SciFi conventions
---WorldCon (The World Science Fiction Conference, run by fans)
---World Fantasy Convention (WFC)
---The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (Facebook page)
• Science Journalism Forum 2022 (Oct.-Nov) The virtual multilingual global event. The draft agenda, 2022.
•Self-Publishing Advice Conference (ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors), a virtual (online) self-publishing conference for authors.
•Sewanee Writers' Conference. (July, Sewanee, Tennessee). A 12-day conference on the workshop model, with a distinguished faculty providing instruction and criticism through workshops and craft lectures in poetry, fiction, and playwriting. Read Brett Foster's account of his experience there.
•SleuthFest A writer-oriented mystery writing conference in Florida each February, by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (Boca Raton/Fort Lauderdale area) A smallish conference (200-250) with a principal guest of honor and four teaching faculty, agent and editor pitch and strategy sessions as well as more in-depth critique sessions with agents and editors, forensic tracks as well as tracks on craft, marketing, etc. Three days preceded by a full-day targeted workshop (an extra charge).
•Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conferences (New York in the winter, Los Angeles in the summer, for kidlit writers at all levels, and Bologna (Italy) Showcase every other early spring), plus many regional events. Read Esther Hershenhorn's Confessions and Secrets of a Veteran SCBWI Conference Goer (or, Do As I Say, Not As I Did). For example: Consider registering (early!) for any of this year's optional Day of Intensives for Writers & Illustrators. Don’t leave home without your manuscripts and sketches! The conference offers informal Peer Critique Groups by Genre Friday and Sunday evenings.
• Society of Environmental Journalists conference (reportedly an exceptional conference)
• Society of Professional Journalists Conference , which has been recast as the Excellence in Journalism Conference (August, sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Radio Television Digital News Association, and National Association of Hispanic Journalists)
• Squaw Valley Community of Writers (located in the California Sierra Nevada, close to the north shore of Lake Tahoe)
• STC's Technical Communication Summit (Society for Technical Communication, held in May)
• Story Circle Network online classes
• Sun Valley Writers' Conference (a four-day literary house party, a once-a-year community of readers and writers who discuss fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, and filmmaking -- conference pass $850)
• Tax Benefits for Education (IRS publication 970)
• TED (Technology, Education, Design)
---TED Talks (videos and snippets from the best talks at TED conferences, designed to spread ideas (at $2000 a registration)
---TED (ideas worth spreading, the official site)
---TedEd Series (great audiovisual explanations from the people who brought us TedTalks)
• Textbook & Academic Authoring (TAA) Conference
• 30 Fantastic Writer’s Conferences for Authors, Bloggers and Freelancers (Dana Sitar, The Write Life, 12-1-16)
• ThrillerFest this week-long summer conference in New York (ThrillerFest XVII • May 31 – June 4, 2022) draws the biggest names in the thriller genre. In small classes taught by ITW bestselling authors, you can learn to pitch your novel with confidence, and get insider details on the business of writing from agents, editors, and marketing professionals, including a critique of your query letter.
• TOC (the discontinued O'Reilly Tools of Change Conferences--"spreading the knowledge of innovators" ran from 2007 to 2013). You can download free Best of TOC: Analysis and Ideas About the Future of Publishing. See Kate Meersschaert on TOC (New Learning Times, 2013). O'Reilly maintained a fierce "Open Source" spirit--the term was coined at TOC.
• Travel Classics Conferences (conferences for travel writers and editors)
• 20Booksto50k Conference. This annual indie publishing conference (typically held in Las Vegas) is a good place to learn about the business of being a self-published author.
---20Booksto50k Live Events (YouTube) Some are easier to hear than others.
---20Books Vegas 2019 Day 1 High Powered Authors A lively discussion of five genre authors (Lindsay Buroker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Malorie Cooper, Alex Lidell, Rebecca Moesta). Down-to-earth and you might pick up some useful tips.
---20Booksto50k Facebook group
---20Books Vegas (Sam's Town, Las Vegas, November) [Back to Top]
• Upod Academy is a "semi-secret workshop where freelancers come together to make big ideas happen. Whether the aim is learning the ropes of freelance writing, pushing to the next level or making a major career transition, the PodCad kicks it from crazy daydream to reality." For example: Sharon Lee's talk on "Designing Your Own Success" (webcast, how to be successful doing more of the stuff you love and are good at and less of the stuff you hate and suck at). Listen to more such talks on this page: TED2013 ("The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.") Scroll down for links to watch/listen to TED talks on these themes: 1) Process Enigma, 2) Beautiful Enigma, 3) The Spark, 4) Disrupt!, 5) Dream! 6) Create! 7) Sustain! 8) Coded Meaning 9) Indelicate Conversation, 10) Secret Voices, 11) Who Are We? 12) A Ripple Effect?
• Vegas Valley Book Festival (October)
• Virginia Festival of the Book (Charlottesville, March) Five days of mostly free author talks and other events.
• VONA (Miami, June and July, encouraging writers of color) The voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation offers two one-week sessions with workshops on poetry, fiction, memoir, travel writing, speculative fiction, YA writing, and playwriting.
• What is the difference between a certificate and certification? (Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society--scroll down for explanation).
• Willamette Writers Conference (August, Portland, Oregon) For writers of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, stage, screen, and webb.
• Women Writing the West Conference (annually in October, various locations in West)
• Women’s Writing Conferences and Retreats in the U.S. (Aiyana Edmund, Literary Ladies Guide, 10-29-18)
• The Writer's Center (Bethesda, MD) Events and workshops in this building provide a continuing writers conference. (I often offer "My Life, One Story at a Time" workshops here--online, starting during the pandemic.)
• Writer's Digest University Online writing workshops, whether you’re writing for publication, for extra money, or to tell personal stories.
• The Writer's Hotel (NYC) This “Mini MFA” is a one-of-a-kind conference, a hybrid writers conference. TWH Editors read and consult on each writer’s full length manuscript pre-conference, followed by a week-long conference in June. TWH NYC events are set at Midtown Manhattan hotels. Onsite events include workshops, lectures, and agent pitch sessions. See The Only Writers Conference I’ve Ever Dreamed of Attending (LA Markuson interviews its founding director, Shanna McNair, Bowery Poetry, Medium, 4-13-17)
• Writers' Police Academy (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, NWTC's Public Safety Training Academy) Participate in many of the same hands-on training classes - basic and advanced - taught to Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, and Corrections personnel. Four days of hands-on training. Real police equipment and vehicles. 30 certified instructors and top law enforcement and forensics experts. Read mystery writer Dana Stabenow's account of her experience there.
• Write to Publish Conference (June 2020, Chicago) Hear what editors, publishers, and agents in the Christian market are looking for and meet with them one-on-one to discuss your ideas and manuscripts.
Online courses and workshops
Online Course in Science Journalism (WFSJ and SciDev.Net), created by the World Federation of Science Journalists in close cooperation with the Science and Development Network, for use by professional journalists, journalism students and teachers. The first eight lessons (free for use by anyone in the world):
1) Planning and structuring your work (Jan Lublinkski)
2) Finding and judging science stories (Julie Clayton)
3) The interview (Christina Scott)
4) Writing skills (Nadia El-Awady)
5) What is science? (Gervais Mbarga and Jean-Marc Fleury)
6) Reporting on controversies (KS Jayaraman)
7) Reporting on science policy (Hepeng Jia and Richard Stone)
8) How to shoot science (Šárka Speváková and Carolyn Robinson).
For each course there is an e-lecture, self-teaching questions, assignments, and PDF versions.
• 5 Reputable Online Writing Workshops (Kayla Lee, Writing Cooperative, 3-9-20)
---Professional Pathways (New York University)
---Scribophiles Get and give detailed critiques.
• Online extension courses, University of California (writing and editing courses included)
• Universities with the best free online courses (Study.com)
• WOW! Women On Writing workshops and classes.
• # 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Online Teaching (Jane Friedman, Notion)
• Secrets to Better Slide Design (Notion)
• Better Slide Presentations (Jane Friedman, YouTube, Sunday Business Sermons, 11-14-21) Engagement is important for online learning. Focus on one key point per slide, and it can be short. (Goodbye 5 points per PowerPoint slide.) Don't include on slide exactly what you'll be saying aloud. Etc.
• Yale Writers' Workshop (Applications open early January for two summer sessions in June. A seasoned faculty of writers and editors leads workshops limited to 10-12 participants, in an immersive creative environment. Read the website for specifics.Highly recommended.
• YA Lit Con (Waterstone Children's Laureate). The first UK Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) took place at the London Film and Comic Con 2014 (LFCC), with the UK's YA publishers providing author events in a dedicated Book Zone.
• Young Adult Literature Symposium (November, sponsored by Young Adult Library Services Association, ALA). Check out YALSA's blog.