In Parts One
of this series, we explored choosing a conference based on a writer’s particular stage and needs; conference know-how basics (conference personalities, budgets, and benefits); and the importance of doing your homework.
Now for some practical resources to make your homework easy!
So Where Do I Go?
A conference perk: Florida in January / Photo: Gerry Wilson
A few basic, online resources provide links to a mind-boggling array of workshops and conferences: Poets & Writers, the Shaw Guides to Conferences and Writing Workshops (search by calendar, genre, and place), and New Pages. There are others, but these sources are free and user-friendly and will kick-start your research.
I can touch on only a few conferences here. A small number are, by consensus, considered the cream of the cream, and admission is quite competitive: Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
(the granddaddy of all conferences and the model for many others) and Sewanee Writers’ Conference
are highly revered. Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop
a younger conference with a growing reputation for attracting fine faculty and participants and for being “edgier” than Bread Loaf and Sewanee. (Tin House is located in Portland—a hip place).
Application deadlines for these and many other summer workshops are looming, so if you’re interested, check on them right away.
If these conferences seem daunting, check the Shaw Guide, New Pages, or Poets & Writers by state to see what’s available in your own back yard. For example, Florida boasts a number of smaller conferences throughout the year, as do many other areas. Unless you have your heart set on a major conference, don’t rule out a smaller one. Many, many conferences offer excellent faculty and programs.
This information is by no means comprehensive; it’s meant to give you a taste of what’s “out there”! Conferences and workshops, like writers, come in all shapes and sizes. Do your homework well, and you’ll find one that’s right for you.
Will you attend a conference this year? If so, where? Why did you choose it? Have you attended a conference in the past that you wholeheartedly recommend? Share your experiences (or your questions) here.