Tennessee Mountain Writers Conference In Oak Ridge Set For April 7-9

Tennessee Mountain Writers will celebrate their 33rd Annual Conference with the theme “Let the Words Flow” on Thursday through Saturday, April 7-9 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge.

The conference will encompass workshops, writing contests, networking, manuscript evaluations, publishers, editors, book signings, a bookstore, vendors, and more.

TMW is glad to be back in person after having to cancel the conference in 2020 and have a Zoom conference in 2021 due to the pandemic. The 2022 conference will follow CDC guidelines and masks will be available for those who wish to use one.

Lisa Coffman will lead the Poetry sessions and will be the Keynote Speaker at the awards banquet, the concluding event of the conference. Poet and essayist Lisa Coffman grew up in East Tennessee and currently lives on California’s Central Coast. She has studied and worked in intensely different environments, all of which feed her de ella writing de ella –New York City, Philadelphia, and Bonn, Germany; the remote high desert of Deep Springs Valley; and the abandoned coal mining town of Glenmary, Tennessee.

She is the author of two collections of poetry: Likelywhich won Kent State University Press’s Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, and Less Obvious Godswith poems featured in Writer’s Almanac, VerseDaily, and numerous anthologies. Coffman’s nonfiction articles have been widely published, including oxford american and BBCNews. Her writing by her has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry. She collaborated with composer Timothy Melbinger on the six-poem cycle Hymns to Less Obvious Godswhich premiered in spring 2019.

Denton Loving will lead the Fiction sessions and the General Session. Loving lives on a farm near the historic Cumberland Gap where Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia come together. He is the author of the poetry collections Crimes Against Birds (Main Street Rag) and tampon (forthcoming from Mercer University Press). For more than decade, I have co-directed the annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival at Lincoln Memorial University.

He is now an editor at EastOver Press and the journal cutleaf. His fiction, poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous journals such as Iron Horse Literary Review, Kenyon Review, The Chattahoochee Review and the Threepenny Review. He is working on a collection of short stories tentatively titled The Things We Fear Most. Follow him on twitter @DentonLoving.

Shawna Kay Rodenberg will lead the Nonfiction sessions. Rodenberg is the author of king, out now from Bloomsbury. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and her reviews and essays have appeared in Consequence, Hall, The Village Voiceand she. In 2016, she was awarded the Jean Ritchie Fellowship, and in 2017 she was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. A registered nurse, community college English instructor, mother of five, and grandmother of two, she lives on a hobby goat farm in southern Indiana.

Courtney Stevens will lead the sessions on Writing for Young People. “Court” Stevens grew up in the knockabout town of Bandana, Kentucky. She is a former adjunct professor, youth minister, Olympic torchbearer, and bookseller at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. These days she writes coming-of-truth fiction and is the community outreach manager for Warren County Public Library in Bowling Green, KY. She has a pet whale named Herman, a bandsaw named Rex, and a tiny fleet of novels with her name de ella on the spine. More importantly, she is in search of the perfect biscuit recipe and a kind way to get the children who live in her house to pick up after themselves.

Specialty sessions will be conducted by Sue Weaver Dunlap, Building a Writing Community; Thomas Alan Holmes, Flash Fiction; Karen E. Reynolds, Songwriting; Pamela Schoenewaldt, Historical Research; and Terry Shaw, Tightening Your Writing.

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 pm reception on Thursday, April 7. Conference sessions will be held from 9 am through 5:15 pm Friday and 8:30 am through 3:15 pm Saturday, followed by the banquet on Saturday evening at 6:30. 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 non-profit, non-political organization that promotes Tennessee literary arts and supports the work of Tennessee writers. Membership is open to all writers, regardless of geographic location. Additional information and a conference registration form can be found on the Tennessee Mountain Writers website, www.tmwi.org.

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