“Write Here, Write Now” is the theme of the Tennessee Mountain Writers’ 29th Annual Conference, scheduled Thursday through Saturday, April 6-8, 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, a press release said.
Native Oak Ridger Carol Aebersold will be the keynote speaker at the awards banquet, the concluding event of the conference. Aebersold is the award-winning co-author of the acclaimed book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition,” as well as several board books.
Aebersold serves as a spokeswoman for the North Pole, traveling nationally—and sometimes internationally—in support of her books, providing kids with a direct line to Santa, the press release said. She is also a co-founder of The Elf on the Shelf’s publishing company, Creatively Classic Activities and Books (CCA and B, LLC), where she serves as owner and partner. Her book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” has been on the best-seller lists of USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly almost yearly since its 2005 launch.
Jesse van Eerden will lead the nonfiction workshops and will be the general session speaker. Van Eerden is author of the novel “Glorybound” (2012), winner of ForeWord Reviews’ Editor’s Choice Fiction Prize, and the novel “My Radio Radio” (2016). Her essays have appeared in The Oxford American, River Teeth, and other magazines. Her nonfiction has also been included in “Best American Spiritual Writing,” “Red Holler: An Anthology of Contemporary Appalachian Literature,” and “Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia.” Van Eerden lives in West Virginia, where she directs the low-residency master of fine arts program at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Beverly Connor will lead the fiction workshops. Connor, the author of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation series and the Lindsay Chamberlain Archaeology Mystery series, weaves her professional experiences as an archaeologist and her knowledge of the South into interlinked stories of the past and present in both her series of mysteries. Her books have been in the Top 10 on the Independent Mystery Booksellers bestseller lists. She won the 2004 Career Achievement Award in Suspense from the RT BOOKClub magazine. “One Grave Less” won Best Suspense Novel of 2010 from RT Bookreviews.
Marianne Worthington will lead the poetry workshops. Worthington is the co-founder and poetry editor of Still: The Journal, an online literary journal established in 2009. She is the former poetry editor and book reviews editor for Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine. Her poetry chapbook, “Larger Bodies Than Mine,” won the Appalachian Book of the Year Award. She received the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and is a grant recipient from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship.
Debbie Dadey will lead the workshops on writing for young people. Dadey began her professional career as a first-grade teacher, and later became a school librarian in Lexington, Kentucky. In Lexington, Dadey met and began writing with Marcia Thornton Jones. Their first published book, “Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots,” spawned a series of more than 60 books, as well as two other spin-off series with sales of more than 42 million copies. Since then, Dadey has been author and co-author of a total of 162 books. Her newest series, Mermaid Tales, is with Simon and Schuster; 2017 will include the launch of four new books in the series.
Alicia Clancy will lead workshops on editing/publishing. Clancy is an assistant editor at St. Martin’s Press in New York City, where she works on a range of projects; she looks for young adult fiction across all genres (excluding paranormal), as well as upmarket and commercial women’s fiction, literary fiction, speculative fiction, mystery/thrillers, high fantasy/dystopian sci-fi, and select pop-culture/humor nonfiction projects. Alicia is the author of an illustrated gift book, “BE MY GALENTINE: Celebrating Badass Female Friendship.” A graduate of the University of Tennessee, she now lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Specialty sessions will be conducted by Gloria Ballard (travel writing), Susan Gregg Gilmore (writing for magazines), Robert Gipe (fiction and the documentary tradition), Victoria Hubbell (personal narrative), and Kory Wells (establishing an Internet presence).
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 6. 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, the press release said. 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’ web site at www.tmwi.org.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This press release was submitted by Melanie Harless.
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