Annual Conference

                                Writing Contests, Workshops, Networking, Manuscript Evaluations,

Publishers, Editors, Book Signings, Bookstore, Vendors, and more!

January 15, 2014 - Scholarship Applications
February 1, 2014 - Contest Entries
March 1, 2014 - Manuscript Evaluation Entries
March 15, 2014 - Hotel Conference Rate Expires
March 22, 2014- Early Registration Rate Ends

Click here for the conference schedule.

Click here for online registration and payment.
Click here for paper registration and pay by check.

DoubleTree Hotel
215 S. Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN
(865) 481-2468
$96/night plus tax (Conference Rate)
Rate expires March 15, 2014 or sold-out.

A limited number of scholarships are available based on need and interest in writing. The deadline for requesting a scholarship is January 15, 2014. For more information please contact us at

Click here for the contest rules.

First Place - $100 + Plaque
Second Place - $50 + Certificate
Third Place - $25 + Certificate
Honorable Mention(s) - Certificate
Sue Ellen Hudson Excellence in Writing Award - $100 + Trophy


In the event of any change, the information will be posted here.


Crystal Wilkinson- Banquet Speaker & Fiction
Crystal 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 also the recipient of awards and fellowships from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is the recent 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. She and her partner, poet and artist Ron Davis, own The Wild Fig Bookstore in Lexington.

Joseph Bathanti - Poetry
Joseph 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. He was named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the Western Region for the North Carolina Poetry Society for 2011-12.

Helen Hemphill - Writing for Young People
Hailed as "a strong new voice in children’s literature" by Kirkus Reviews, Helen 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 Ten 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; and was named to VOYA’s 2009 Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, Best Books 2009, Nebraska Library Association; Best Children’s Books, Bank State College; South Dakota Young Adult Reading Program List, Kansas State Reading Circle 2009 Recommended Reading List; and to the Winter 2008-09 Kid’s Indie Next list. Visit her on the web at

Scott Huler - Nonfiction & General Session Speaker
Scott Huler graduated from Washington University in 1981; he was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa because of the breadth of his studies, and that breadth has been a signature of his writing work. He 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. He has been a staff writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Raleigh News & Observer and a staff reporter and producer for Nashville Public Radio. He was the founding and managing editor of the Nashville City Paper. He has taught at such colleges as Berry College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has served as guest host on "The State of Things" on WUNC-FM.

On the Grid is his sixth book; his work has also been included in compilations such as Appalachian Adventure and anthologies Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, The Appalachian Trail Reader and Speed: Stories of Survival from Behind the Wheel to name a few. He blogs for

For 2011 Scott is proud to have been chosen Piedmont Laureate, representing the literary arts on behalf of the counties of Alamance, Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake. Through readings, workshops, presentations, and his work as a writer of nonfiction he helped promote the appreciation of literary excellence in the Piedmont region.

Kate Larken - Editing & Publishing, and a Specialty Session on Songwriting
Kate Larken is an editor, publisher (, musician, lifelong learner, and entrepreneur. She’s also a writer—fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, scripts, and songs. A former journalist and teacher, Kate comes from a family of newspaper publishers, educators, and farmers. She has worked in theatre—as an actor, director, producer, and playwright—and was a professional musician for several years, during which time she recorded and produced several CDs of original work and toured widely as a performing songwriter. In 2013, Kate 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). Moving happily toward retirement, she embraces her emerging existence as a tinkerer and hermit, living, and writing in blissful solitude on an end-of-the-road farm in Kentucky’s western Knobs region.

Specialty Session Leaders

Darnell Arnoult - Memoir
Darnell Arnoult is Writer-in-Resident and Assistant Professor of English at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. She holds an MFA from University of Memphis and MA from North Carolina State. Author of the prize-winning collection What Travels With Us: Poems (LSU Press) and the novel Sufficient Grace (Free Press), she is a regular faculty member of the Table Rock Writers Workshop, Tennessee Young Writers Workshop, John C. Campbell Folk School, Learning Events, and the Appalachian Writers Workshop. In 2007, she was named Tennessee Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writers Alliance. Look for her blog Dancing with the Gorilla: Lyric Pontifications on Reading, Writing, and Revision at  
Kate Larken - Songwriting

Lisa Soland - Playwriting
Lisa Soland is celebrating the release of her new book The Christmas Tree Angel. She comes to the literary world as a renowned playwright, with plays Waiting, Cabo San Lucas, Truth Be Told, The Name Game and The Man in th Gray Suit & Other Plays, all published internationally by Samuel French Inc. With over 40 international publications in all, her work can also be found in "best of" anthologies published by French, Smith & Kraus, Applause Books and Dramatic Publishing. Her book The Writer's Motivation has inspired countless writers to fill the blank page.

She had the privilege of returning to her alma mater, Florida State University to head up the MFA playwriting program, and now enjoys teaching in the theatre departments at both Maryville College and Pellissippi State in Tennessee.

Kory Wells - Blogging
Kory Wells is a poet and writer with a long career in technology for insurance professionals. An early adopter of blogging and social media outreach, she has become nationally known for her niche analytical expertise. Kory’s "standout" nonfiction that leads She’s Such a Geek was praised by Ladies’ Home Journal, and her work appears in numerous publications. She is author of the poetry collection Heaven Was the Moon (March Street Press) and often performs her poetry with her daughter Kelsey, an old-time musician. The Tennessee duo’s first album was recently released. Kory is a mentor with The Writer’s Loft at Middle Tennessee State University.

Kathy Womack - Marketing Your Self-published Books
Kathy Womack resides in Knoxville, TN, where she teaches special education at Central High School. During her free time from her students, she is an avid reader and book blogger. She travels to various book events and conferences throughout the Southeast, meeting authors and helping to market self-published authors through virtual book tours and social media. Kathy is currently organizing the Tennessee Valley Author Event, a massive book signing event in the Knoxville area scheduled for July 2014. Kathy has participated as a panelist at Pellicon, 2013, and has presented a workshop on marketing self-published work for the Knoxville Writers Guild.







This event is funded in part under an agreement with the
Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.