Upcoming Writing Conferences in the Southeast

Writers tend to be a solitary lot. Most of us spend our days bent over keyboards and pads of paper putting words on the page or poring over various sources for research. If you’re already an active member of Knoxville Writers’ Guild, you know the value of occasionally getting out of the writing or researching bubble and mingling with fellow scribes.

Writing conferences are a great, if sometimes pricey, way to meet other writers, hone your craft, and get in front of people who might help you get your work out to the world. If you are interested in attending a conference, I’ve collected a few in the Southeast to get you started. If you want to look further afield, Shaw Guides provides a detailed list of writing conferences around the U.S. and throughout the world.

If you have a favorite conference, festival, or retreat you’ve attended, please shoot me an email about it for a future blog post.

Important note: I have attended a few of these, but not all. This list is not an endorsement by me or the Knoxville Writers’ Guild.

Wallet factor:

$ – under $500

$$ – $500-1000

$$$ – over $1000


Killer Nashville

Location: Nashville, TN

Focus: Killer Nashville is geared toward thriller, mystery, and suspense writers but panels and speakers cover a wide array of writing, publishing, and marketing topics.

Featured guests: Janet Evanovich, Kevin O’Brien, Anne Perry

Date: August 18-21, 2016

Fun fact: An award is given for solving a crime from a staged crime scene.

Registration deadline: ticketed events may be full, but you can register on the day of the conference

Wallet factor: $


Kentucky Women Writers Conference

Location: Lexington, KY

Focus: Celebration of women’s arts and letters.

Featured guests: Mary Carr, Dana Spiotta, Crystal Wilkinson

Date: September 15-18, 2016

Fun fact: Longest running women writers conference in the U.S.

Registration deadline: Open up to the day of the conference

Wallet factor: $-$$ (various attendance packages available)

Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference

Location: Columbus, GA

Focus: From the website: “Whether you are an aspiring or a published writer, poet, scriptwriter, playwright, or blogger, this conference will inspire you and guide you!”

Featured guest: William “Billy” Winn

Date: September 23-24, 2016

Fun fact: 2016 is the 10th anniversary of this conference

Registration deadline: Deadline for one on one review: August 15, 2016. Conference registration is up to day of conference.

Wallet factor: $


SilverHart SWAT Academy: Suspense writers adventure & training

Location: Zachary, LA

Focus: From the website: “Suspense Writers Adventure and Training is an action-packed, four-day training opportunity for authors, screenwriters, and video game developers.”

Featured guests: Chief Scott Silverii and Liliana Hart host the SWAT Academy

Date: October 13-16, 2016

Fun fact: Includes a graduation ceremony.

Registration deadline: Open until filled.

Wallet factor: $$

Southern Festival of Books

Location: Nashville, TN

Focus: The Southern Festival of Books’ tagline is “A Celebration of the Written Word”

Featured guests: Full list of participating writers

Date: October 14-16, 2016

Fun fact: The SFB was one of the first book festivals of its kind and inspired many other book festivals around the country.

Registration deadline: Deadline has passed to submit books for consideration. Attendance does not require registration

Wallet factor: FREE

Florida Writers’ Conference

Location: Altamonte Springs, FL

Focus: Broad focus on writing, publishing, and marketing.

Featured guest: John Gilstrap

Date: October 20-23, 2016

Fun fact: Genre breakfasts offer an opportunity to meet and greet with writers in your genre over eggs and coffee.

Registration deadline: Late registration up to the day of the conference.

Wallet factor: $$


Atlanta Writers Conference

Location: Atlanta, GA

Focus: Publishing – critiques and sessions with agents and editors

Featured guests: Susan Crawford and Anju Gattani

Date: November 4-5, 2016

Fun fact: The agents and editors give out awards for best manuscript sample submitted and for best query letter pitch.

Registration deadline: October 3 for manuscript critique, or until filled. November 2 for all other conference activities

Wallet factor: $-$$ (multiple packages available)


Key West Writers’ Workshop Program

Location: Key West, FL

Focus: By application and open enrollment workshops with featured writers. This event takes place on the heels on the Key West Literary Seminar (geared toward readers). Part conference/part retreat.

Featured guests: 2017 faculty include: Robert Antoni, Jennine Capó Crucet, Billy Collins and others.

Date: January 16-29, 2017

Registration deadline: Until filled. Registration is per workshop.

Fun fact: The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is located in Key West and has a population of polydactyl cats.

Wallet factor: $$$

Spring 2017

Authors Combat Academy

Location: Nashville, TN

Focus: Fledging conference specializing in fight scenes and combat. Panels and workshops include publishing, marketing, and other writing topics.

Featured guests: TBA

Date: April 2017

Registration deadline: By October 1, 2016 (see registration page for special note)

Fun fact: You can rent ninjas to stage your fights scenes

Wallet Factor: $

Victoria Raschke

Victoria Raschke writes books that start with questions like “what if you didn’t find out you were the chosen one until you were in your forties?” When she isn’t holed up in her favorite coffee house to write, she can be found at the nearest farmers’ market checking out the weird vegetables or at her home where she lives with a changing number of cats and her family who supports both her writing and her culinary experimentation — for the most part. Her first book, Who by Water, was published in 2017. Voices of the Dead Series Who by Water Our Lady of the Various Sorrows Like  a Pale Moon Strange as Angels Voices of the Dead Omnibus Edition (includes short "A Wand Needs a Witch") Renegade Tea Cookbook (2021)