“Not Now…I’m Writing” is the theme of the Tennessee Mountain Writers’ 27th Annual Conference, scheduled Thursday through Saturday, April 9-11, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge. The conference includes writing contests, workshops, networking, manuscript evaluations, publishers, editors, book signings, a bookstore, vendors, and more.
Evelyn Coleman will lead the Writing for Young People workshops and will be the keynote speaker at the awards banquet, the concluding event of the conference. Coleman, an Edgar-nominated, award-winning author, writes across genres from picture books to young adult and adult novels. Coleman’s latest books, “Freedom Train” and the American Girl Mysteries Series book, “Cecile’s Cameo Necklace,” have received glowing reviews. Her adult thriller, “What a Woman’s Gotta Do” (Random House), was lauded byBooklist for its “vivid details and suspense.”
Gwyn Hyman Rubio will lead the Fiction workshops and will be the General Session speaker. Rubio is the best-selling author of “Icy Sparks,” a 1998 New York Times Notable Book. Her second novel, “The Woodsman’s Daughter,” published in 2005, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and was the finalist for the Kentucky Literary Award. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award and has appeared in literary magazines around the country. She is a winner of the Cecil Hackney Literary Award.
Jason Howard will lead the Nonfiction workshops. Howard is the author of “A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music,” a work of literary journalism that explores how the land and culture of Kentucky have shaped American music. He is coauthor of “Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal,” and is editor of the forthcoming anthology “The Women We Love: A Gay Homage,” which pays tribute to the relationship between gay writers and significant females in their lives. He was recently named editor of Appalachian Heritage, a literary quarterly based at Berea (Kentucky) College.
Lisa Coffman will lead the Poetry workshops. Coffman’s most recent collection of poetry, “Less Obvious Gods,” was published by Iris Press in 2013. Her first collection, “Likely,” won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University Press. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, most recently “The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. VI: Tennessee.” She teaches at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
J. Randy Marshall will lead workshops on Editing and Publishing. Marshall has served as senior literary editor of “Blackbird,” an online journal of literature and the arts since 2009. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in Richmond Arts Magazine, New South (formerly Georgia State University Review), Cream City Review, Diode, and Blackbird. He co-edited “The Gazer Within,” a selection of critical prose by Larry Levis. Marshall is an adjunct instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Specialty sessions will be conducted by Jennie Ivey—Inspirational Nonfiction; Karen Reynolds—Songwriting; Pamela Schoenewaldt—Historical Fiction; and Lin Stepp—Writing and Marketing Your Book. A Panel Discussion entitled All About Agents will be conducted by Beverly Connor, Christy Tillery French, and Pamela Schoenewaldt.
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 9. Conference sessions will be held from 9 a.m. through 5:15 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. through 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.
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.