Sunday, April 11, 2010

Within Driving Distance, Conferences

By Bonnie Stanard

A good conference does more than remind us of the dos and don’ts of writing—it inspires us to renew our writing efforts. I dream of attending conferences in places like Mallorca or Italy. However, the list I’ve compiled of those closer to home is no dream. My expectation is that at some point in time I’ll send in my registration, write the check, and make the trips.

The SC Writers Workshop’s conference is one I usually attend. This year it will be held October 22-24 at Myrtle Beach and is one of the most professional and popular conferences in the area.

On occasion I have attended Sandhills Writers Conference, held in the spring at Augusta State University in Georgia. This conference describes itself as a gathering of authors, agents, and editors, though my experience has been that authors make most of the presentations. This isn’t a workshop format, but it provides a congenial atmosphere in which writers have a chance to meet and exchange ideas. The program may be really good or not, depending on the talents of the authors making the presentations. Housing is not provided, so attendees must find hotel rooms on their own. (

I have also attended the Hub City Writers Project held in the summer at Wofford College in Spartanburg. Claire Bateman conducted the poetry workshop I attended and it was terrific. We were housed in one of the dorms at very reasonable rates. Every year I think I’ll return, but inevitably there’s a conflict with my calendar. This year it will be held July 30-August 1 and features writer Elizabeth Berg. (

The Foothills Writers Guild’s conference has come and gone this year, and I didn’t go, not because I didn’t want to. For 21 years the Guild has sponsored a workshop at Anderson University in the spring (March 26-27 this year). I would like to have heard Jane Friedman’s ideas about the “Five Most Important Things About the Future of Publishing.” (

Another writing event that has been around for a long time and which I have on my list is the Southeastern Writers Association’s annual workshop. It will be held June 20-24 at Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, GA. The topic will be "Writers Helping Writers.” They’re on the web at

What looks like a day packed with writer information is the Carolinas Writers Conference, upcoming on April 17 at Wadesboro, NC. Michael Malone, a writer of literary reviews, novels, short stories, plays, and scripts for television, is the featured guest. I’ll miss this year’s conference, but I hope to attend sometime if not next year. See more information at

I’ve had my eye on a couple of workshops in the North Carolina mountains—Wildacres ( and John C. Campbell Folk School ( Both of these are week-long residential workshops.

There are other workshops and conferences in our area but these are the ones I’ve been watching with the hope of one day attending. You can find others listed at and

The last three addresses are not live links. Please copy and paste them into your browser window. Apologies for the inconvenience.

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