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The changing face of writing conferences in a pandemic

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, event staff face a difficult decision: cancel and hope for better luck next year or move online. Luckily for writers around the country, more and more conferences are choosing the latter. Here’s how conference directors are successfully adapting live events into virtual ones.

Stage & Screenwriting students meet with TSWW co-founder Rex Weiner in the gardens of the workshop’s landmark home. Photo: Emanuela Gardner

Conference Insider: Todos Santos Writers Workshop

This Baja conference may be going digital in 2021, but staff members are determined not to lose all the cultural and craft elements that make the annual event so special.

Literary Spotlight: Ecotone

This award-winning literary journal seeks fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that examines ways in which environmental and social justice intersect.

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Founding editor of The Willowherb Review Jessica J. Lee, the poet Jay G Ying, and artist and writer Amanda Thomson at the 2019 Kendal Mountain Literature Festival. Photo courtesy of Kendal Mountain Literature Festival, 2019
Founding editor of The Willowherb Review Jessica J. Lee, the poet Jay G Ying, and artist and writer Amanda Thomson at the 2019 Kendal Mountain Literature Festival. Photo courtesy of Kendal Mountain Literature Festival, 2019

Literary Spotlight: The Willowherb Review

This online journal shines a spotlight on a wide variety of nature writing, all penned by authors of color.

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The cover of Palooka #12.

Literary Spotlight: Palooka

Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, comics, and art come together in this eclectic magazine.

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An introvert’s guide to writing conferences. A vintage black-and-white photo showing a woman about to fall off a diving board.

An introvert’s guide to writing conferences

Hate crowds? Love alone time? Shudder violently at the mere thought of ‘networking?’ You, too, can succeed at a writing conference! Here’s how.

Murdercon 2020
Television writer Phoef Sutton uses a metal rod to probe the earth for a body or bone as fellow MurderCon attendees look on, including Southern Vampire series author Charlaine Harris (standing right of Sutton). Photo by Don O’Neil.

Conference Insider: Writers’ Police Academy MurderCon

Get hands-on experience in forensics and law enforcement at this immersive four-day event in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Belize Writers' Conference
Belize Writers’ Conference. Photo by Lorelei Neft

Conference Insider: Belize Writers’ Conference

Capped at just 30 attendees, this spring conference offers authors the chance to mingle with agents in an intimate and beautiful Caribbean setting.

Literary Spotlight: Copper Nickel

This Colorado-based literary magazine doesn’t just offer a home for American prose and poetry; it also provides plenty of space and context for works in translation.

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New York City

Conference Insider: Gotham Writers Conference

Spend two days talking craft and networking with agents at this NYC conference hosted by one of the country’s most well-known writing centers.

Contingent
Contingent magazine

Literary Spotlight: Contingent

‘All kinds of history are important – it doesn’t all have to be about the Civil War,’ say the founders of this unique new history magazine.

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What literary agents want

Six literary agents weigh in on platform, publishing, and why you should never address a query to “dear sir.”

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Literary Spotlight: Image

For three decades, literary meditations on faith and spirituality have found a home in this reflective journal.

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Santa Barbara Writers Conferences
Attendees of all genres mingle at the poolside coctail reception during the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Photo by Rachel Sarah Thurston

Conference Insider: Santa Barbara Writers Conference

Eager to spend more than a weekend working on your craft and career? This sunny six-day conference in California may be just the ticket.

Writing disabled protagonists in children’s and YA literature

Authors have called upon their experiences as parents of children with disabilities, and on volunteer work or extensive research, to create characters who reflect the physical, emotional, and developmental challenges that readers and their peers may face.

Melissa Hart, author photo
For author Melissa Hart, her cat Jake often serves as her first audience.

How collaboration – and a dose of humility – can improve a book

Author Melissa Hart shares how she grudgingly changed her memoir to a nonfiction book at an editor’s request – and found it ultimately worked better.

Haiku North America takes place in Winston Salem, North Carolina

Haiku North America

Crazy about the haiku? Have we got a conference for you.

Literary Spotlight: The Masters Review

This journal offers emerging writers editorial feedback, suggestions for alternative publications to pursue, and – best of all – a paid home for their work.

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Pacific Northwest Writers Association
Pacific Northwest Writers Association participants gather in a genre about craft and marketing. Photo by Brian Mercer

Conference Insider: Pacific Northwest Writers Association

This Seattle-based conference effectively balances art with business – and has a long list of alumni success stories to prove it.

Photo by Ben Malay

Literary Spotlight: Shark Reef

This inspired literary journal is powered by lyrical writers and strong voices, not the whims of modern publishing trends.

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Zizzle Magazine
Zizzle Magazine

Literary Spotlight: Zizzle Magazine

This international flash fiction journal aims to bring parents and children together to foster a lifelong love of reading.

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Conference Insider: KidLitCon

If you write books for young readers, this New England conference is an event you can’t miss.

Literary Spotlight: EVENT

Offering contests, themed submission calls, and reading services, this historic Canadian journal has something for everyone.

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Fort Worden
Port Townsend, Washington. Photo by travis manley/ Shutterstock

Conference Insider: Port Townsend Writers’ Conference

Craft and community combine at what event organizers call a “left-coast, Birkenstock-wearing version of Bread Loaf.”

Niche
Find your niche. Photo by patpitchaya/Shutterstock

Find your niche magazine

Five magazine editors weigh in on the niche magazine industry and share tips for how to get published in those specialized publications.

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Conference Insider: NonfictioNOW

From social justice to video essays, this fact-focused conference is deeply grounded in modern-day truthtelling.

Literary Spotlight: Catapult

This multi-faceted organization is a literary journal, publishing house, writing center, and online community, all in one place.

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The rising tide of “cli-fi,” or climate fiction

Authors are becoming increasingly concerned about the state of our planet – and what we can do about it. Enter cli-fi, a new genre that deals with climate change and global warming on both a modern and future scale.

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Conference Insider: Killer Nashville

This thrilling conference allows participants to learn about the industry, sharpen their crime-solving skills, and net a publishing deal all in one weekend.

Top writing conferences for writers of color and LGBTQ writers

Each year, several conferences and retreats cater to specific demographics, enabling writers to find a community that understands the challenges inherent in belonging to, and writing in, a particular culture.

Conference Insider: StokerCon

This spine-tingling conference offers a one-stop shop for all things horror.

We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books

Half of U.S. children under age 5 are non-white. But only 10 percent of children’s books in the last
two decades featured multicultural characters. The math doesn’t add up. And one nonprofit organization is determined
to even the playing field.

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Shakespeare in the house

A family of writers finds inspiration and solidarity in the bard.

Dinty W. Moore: Writer guy

Dinty W. Moore talks about his unconventional, superstitious, comic, mindful and messy approach to teaching and practicing craft.

Teen spirit

The teen literary journal “Canvas” offers a multitude of ways for readers, writers and artists to connect.

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It’s a party

Forget the traditional book launch. Start planning an exciting event.

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