top of page

Last Year's Conference: AWC23!

Conference Agenda

Tuesday, September 3

Arrive a Day Early!


Berea is the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky and the home
of the Kentucky Artisan Center.


Enjoy the great outdoors in Berea! Hike, Bike, eBike, Kayak,  or  take an afternoon stroll on one of the many paved trails.


Berea is home to 21 restaurants and 15 quick serve eateries!
Don't forget the Spoonbread!

Need ideas?

 - Hike the Pinnacles - Visit The Taleless Dog Booksellers - Grab an eBike and Cruise Berea's Paved Trails -
- Paddle Owsley Fork Lake in a Kayak - Visit Unique Shops in Old Town Berea -
- Visit Artists and Shop Their Wares - Shop at Kentucky's Artisan Center -
- Grab a Bite (or two) at one of Berea's Eateries and Restaurants - Sip Some Coffee -
- Eat Some Fudge and Ice Cream -
- Talk to Our Artists -

Tuesday, September 5

Pre-Conference Evening Event


6 to 8 p.m. Welcome to the Appalachian Writer's Conference!

Meet your fellow attendees and conference faculty under the beautiful canopy of trees on the patio, the Boone Tavern's Historic Front Porch, or in the Lincoln Lounge.

A Cash Bar in The Lincoln Lounge will feature our signature drink "The Writer's Muse" along with complimentary light refreshments.

The Writers Muse Drinks.jpg

"The Writer's Muse"
Appalachian Writer's Conference 2023 Signature Cocktail


Wednesday, September 6

Conference Begins - Day 1


8 a.m. Registration in the Lincoln Lounge

9 to 10 a.m.  Light Breakfast in the Banquet Hall & Conference Kick-off



  • 10:05 to 11:05 a.m. – Non-fiction, Historical Non-fiction Presentation & Workshop - Dr. Pam Parry - Skylight Room

    • This non-fiction workshop will help you learn how to identify historical figures worthy of exploration. Where do you find historical topics? How do you research those topics? What are the barriers of writing about people who are gone? How do you honor their memory and their story? How do you evaluate credible sources? What are the best sources to use? This workshop will help you answer those questions and so much more.

  • 11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. – Writing Your Screenplay – Mark Daniels - Coyle Room

    • In this session, Mark will you through the process of creating your screenplay from concept to final draft, formatting, pitching, and working with producers and directors.



  • 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. (Served in Hotel Event Center by Boone Tavern Restaurant. There will be Spoonbread!)

Immediately after lunch stay in the Hotel Event Center for "Pick Your Genre" a round table writer's collaboration that gives you an opportunity to work with other writers at a table led by the genre's faculty member. Round tables will include: Romance, Cozy Mystery, Hard Boiled Detective, Historical Non-Fiction, Literary, Dystopian and Science Fiction,



  • 2 to 3 p.m. – Adaptations: From Book to Screen – Mark Daniels - Coyle Room

    • In this session, Mark will teach us what it takes to bring a novel from pages to the big screen (or small screen) and outline the skills necessary to pull the essential scenes from our writing, scaling a 300-page book into a 120-page script ready for production. 

  • 3:05 to 4:05 p.m. – Non-fiction, Historical Non-fiction "Making the Narrative Interesting" - Dr. Pam Parry - Skylight

    • This non-fiction workshop will explore how to write about historical figures and find the potential markets for those stories. This workshop will provide writing tips and strategies for transforming your historical research into a readable, interesting narrative that is ready for the marketplace. How do you identify your readers? How do you write for their interests? After this workshop, you should know how to write, market, and sell your historical writing. 

  • 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. – Book Publishing Contracts & How to Protect Your Creative Work - Coyle Room

    • Your creative work is an asset and should be treated as such, with potential for having considerable value now and in the future. During this session you will learn what's important to watch for in your contract and how to negotiate terms.

    • Dinner on Your Own in Beautiful Berea, Kentucky! (see goodie bag for list of local eateries and a map)

Friday, September 7

Conference Continues - Day 2

Arts & Craft Vendors in the Lobby all day!


  • 7 to 8 a.m. Hearty Breakfast in the Hotel Event Center.



  • 8 to 9 a.m. Designing a Framework for Your Genre Fiction - Summer Hanford - Coyle Room

    • In this workshop, participants will focus on well-crafted work and maintaining the joy of creating. By the end of this workshop, attendees will have the tools they need to properly research their genre of choice, a broad framework for their novel, and a strong understanding of what goes into a well-rounded, well-crafted work that other people will enjoy reading.

  • 9:05 to 10:05 a.m. - Historical Fiction - Merrill Davies - Skylight Room

    • Historical Fiction has its own challenges. What must be correct historically? If you’re basing the novel on a real person, how much of it must be true to his/her life? This session explores several guidelines for creating a realistic scene in historical novels. Those attendees who are working on a historical fiction project, please be prepared to share a little about it with other workshop participants.

  • 10:10 to 11:10 a.m. - Characteristics of Literary Fiction - Dr. Sherry Robinson - Coyle Room

    • This workshop will explore the characteristics of literary fiction. What makes fiction literary? Can fiction be both literary and genre? Does literary fiction deserve the perception that it is “boring” or “pretentious”? How do you tell a compelling story using literary characteristics? The workshop will provide several examples of literary fiction's characteristics and allow participants to explore their own use of the characteristics.

  • 11:15 to 12:15  a.m. Optimize Your Genre Fiction - Summer Hanford - Skylight Room

    • In this workshop, we’ll go step by step from concept to starting your novel, all while keeping an eye on the end goal of creating a ‘sellable’ book, whether direct to consumers via self-publishing, to agents or agents, or to a publishing house. And, almost as importantly, you will better understand the steps required to get your work in front of readers.



  • 12:30 to 2 p.m. Lunch in Hotel Event Center

In Conversation with Robert Dean Johnson, "So You Think You Want To Be A Writer?" Rob and conference host, Melissa Newman, will chat about writing courses, the path to publishing, and navigating a path to teaching creative writing. Rob is the Director of the Bluegrass Writer's Studio at Eastern Kentucky University's MFA program, and author of Delicate Men: Stories (Alternative Book Press) and Californium (Plume). His essays and stories have appeared in several national literary journals, including Ascent, Natural Bridge, New Orleans Review, Santa Clara Review, and The Southern Review.



  • 2 to 3 p.m. - Poetry Workshop - Merrill Davies - Coyle Room

    • At, a section of A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch is quoted in which he says that “Poetry is a human fundamental, like music. It predates literacy and precedes prose in all literature. There has probably never been a culture without it, yet no one knows precisely what it is.” During this workshop participants will explore their understanding of what poetry is and how to better use their skills to write poetry that connects with our culture.

  • 3:05 to 4:05 p.m.  – Literary Fiction - Characters and Setting - Dr. Sherry Robinson - Skylight Room

    • This workshop will concentrate on characters and setting in literary fiction. This workshop will dig deeper into creating compelling characters that will drive action within the story. Participants will learn how to create vivid settings. This will be an active workshop with significant interaction with participants. 

Special Session Alert!

  • 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. - "The Common Mystics" - Coyle Room

    • Psychic sisters Jennifer James & Jill Stanley of the Common Mystics podcast share tips and techniques for opening up to Spirit and recognizing how Spirit engages with them in everyday life. Let the sisters inspire you to trust your own intuitive gifts as inspiration for your creative work. 



  • 6 p.m. Banquet Begins in Hotel Event Center (please be seated by 6:30 p.m.)

  • 6:30 p.m. Psychic Sisters Jennifer James & Jill Stanley explain the concept behind the Common Mystics podcast and its origins and share stories of their favorite travel experiences uncovering the stories of the voiceless dead. The sisters will perform a stage adaptation of a story not included in their book or on their podcast.

NIGHTCAP ON THE PORCH & PATIO - Conference Closing Event

  • 8 p.m. “Writer’s Night Cap on the Porch & Patio" Boone Tavern. Enjoy famous Kentucky Bourbons, a glass of local wine, or a Southern Sweet Tea at The Frost Cafe located inside the hotel.

  • Cash Bar Featuring Signature Drink "The Writer's Muse"

The Writers Muse Drinks.jpg

"The Writer's Muse"
Appalachian Writer's Conference 2023 Signature Cocktail


bottom of page