Tennessee Mountain Writers will celebrate its 30th Annual Conference with the theme “No Grit, No Pearl” on Thursday through Saturday, April 5-7, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge. The conference will include workshops, writing contests, networking, manuscript evaluations, publishers, editors, book signings, a bookstore, vendors, and more, a press release said.
Marilyn Kallet will lead the Poetry workshops and will be the keynote speaker at the awards banquet, the concluding event of the conference, the press release said. Kallet, Nancy Moore Goslee Professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, has published 17 books, including “The Love That Moves Me,” poetry from Black Widow Press (2013), and “How Our Bodies Learned,” lyric poetry from Black Widow Press (January 2018). She teaches poetry workshops each spring in Auvillar, France, for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, at their French studio. She has performed her poems on campuses and in theaters across the United States, as well as in France and Poland as a guest of the U.S. Embassy. The University of Tennessee lists her as a specialist in poetry and dreams, poetry and healing, and poetry’s role in times of crisis.
Kelly O’Connor McNees will lead the Writing for Young People workshops and will be the General Session speaker. McNees is the author of “The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott,” “The Island of Doves,” and “In Need of a Good Wife,” a finalist for the 2013 Willa Award. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post and The Toast, and is forthcoming in the Chicago Anthology, the press release said. She is the recipient of the 2017 Meg Medina Artist-in-Residency Scholarship from the Highlights Foundation. She runs Word Bird Editorial Services, which helps writers of all stripes improve their craft and prepare their work for publication, and speaks at libraries, conferences, and book clubs. Born and raised in Michigan, she lives in Chicago with her family.
Pamela Schoenewaldt will lead the Fiction workshops. Schoenewaldt is a historical novelist and USA Today bestseller. Her novels, “When We Were Strangers,” “Swimming in the Moon,” and “Under the Same Blue Sky,” all published by HarperCollins, have been translated into five languages and short-listed for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. A one-act play in Italian was performed in Naples, Italy, where she lived for 10 years. Her prize-winning short stories have been published in England, France, Italy, and the U.S. She taught writing for the University of Maryland, European Division, and the University of Tennessee. Pamela lives in Knoxville with her husband, Maurizio Conti. Her novel in progress is set in Knoxville in 1919.
Christopher Martin will lead the Nonfiction workshops. Martin is the author of “This Gladdening Light: An Ecology of Fatherhood and Faith” (Mercer University Press), which won the Will D. Campbell Award in Creative Nonfiction, the press release said. His work has appeared in publications across the country, including American Public Media’s “On Being,” Fourth River, McSweeney’s, Poecology, Shambhala Sun, Still: The Journal, and Thrush Poetry Journal. A contributing editor at New Southerner, the author of three poetry chapbooks, and a recipient of the George Scarbrough Prize for Poetry, he teaches English at Kennesaw State University and creative nonfiction for the Appalachian Young Writers Workshop. He lives with his wife and their two young children in northwest Georgia, between the Allatoona Range and Kennesaw Mountain.
Specialty sessions will be conducted by David Nuttall—Drawing Fictional Maps; Belinda Smith—Songwriting; Lynn York—Writing Southern Cozies; Lynn York/Robert and Beto Cumming—Publisher’s Viewpoint; and Chris Martin and Kelly O’Connor McNeil—Writing Across Genres.
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 5. 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.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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