The Tennessee Mountain Writers’ 26th Annual Conference, scheduled Thursday through Saturday, April 3-5, will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge. The conference will include writing contests, workshops, networking, manuscript evaluations, publishers, editors, book signings, a bookstore, vendors, and more.
The conference, which is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, will kick off with a 6 p.m. reception on Thursday, April 3. Conference sessions will be held from 9 a.m. through 5:15 p.m. Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, followed by the banquet on Saturday evening. The Writer’s Block, a bookstore featuring works published by workshop leaders and conference participants, will be open all day Friday and on Saturday morning.
Crystal Wilkinson will lead the Fiction workshops and will be the keynote speaker at the awards banquet, the concluding event of the conference. Wilkinson is the author of “Blackberries, Blackberries,” winner of the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature, and “Water Street,” a finalist for the University of Kentucky’s Orange Prize for Fiction and for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. She is the winner of the 2008 Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Wilkinson currently teaches writing and literature in the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Morehead (KY) State University. She has also taught in the brief residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University and the MFA in Creative Writing at Indiana University-Bloomington.
Scott Huler will be the General Session speaker and will lead the Nonfiction workshops. Huler has written on everything from the death penalty to bikini waxing, from NASCAR racing to the stealth bomber, for such newspapers as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Los Angeles Times and such magazines as Backpacker, Fortune, and ESPN. His award-winning radio work has been heard on “All Things Considered” and “Day to Day” on National Public Radio, and on “Marketplace” and “Splendid Table” on American Public Media.
Joseph Bathanti will lead the Poetry workshops. Bathanti was installed as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate in September 2012. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where he is also Writer-in-Residence for the University’s Watauga Global Community and Director of Writing in the Field. He is the author of eight books of poetry, including “Restoring Sacred Art,” winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year; “Sonnets of The Cross”; and “Concertina,” published in 2013 by Mercer University Press.
Writing for Young People workshops will be led by Helen Hemphill. Hemphill’s debut novel “Long Gone Daddy” won the Teddy Award for young adult fiction from the Writers’ League of Texas and was named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age. Booklist named her novel “Runaround” a Top 10 Youth Romance for 2007, and Book Links offered it as one of 2007’s Best New Books for the Classroom. Her most recent book for middle school readers, “The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones,” was the recipient of the Virginia M. Law Award for the “most distinguished book of 2008 for young adults” by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library.
Kate Larken will lead workshops on Editing and Publishing, and a specialty session on Songwriting. Larken is an editor, publisher (MotesBooks.com), musician, lifelong learner, and entrepreneur, as well as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, scripts, and songs. In 2013, Larken founded The Notebook: A Progressive Journal about Women and Girls with Rural and Small Town Roots. She is currently at work on a novel (SLANT) and a one-woman play (Shirley McDaniel Ain’t Dead.)
In addition to Larken’s specialty session on Songwriting, other specialty sessions will be conducted by Darnell Arnoult—Memoir; Lisa Soland—Playwriting; Kory Wells—Blogging; and Kathy Womack—Marketing Your Self-Published Books.
Tennessee Mountain Writers is a nonprofit, non-political organization that promotes Tennessee literary arts and supports the work of Tennessee writers. Its goal is to provide opportunities for people interested in the craft of writing to become better writers. Membership is open to all writers interested in furthering these objectives, regardless of geographic location. Additional information and a conference registration form can be found on the Tennessee Mountain Writers’ website at www.tmwi.org.
For additional information, contact Melanie Harless at (865) 482-5690 or Carol Grametbauer at (865) 376-2708.