By Faith Aeriel

Summer is almost here and with it comes a variety of conferences, workshops, and colonies aimed at building your skills and breadth of knowledge as a writer. Fellow artists, writers, agents, publishers, and publicists populate venues with speakers who cover everything from craft sessions to the publishing process. With so many conferences to choose from, it is important to decide what you hope to gain as a writer. Understanding your goals will help to inform your decision and ensure you obtain something invaluable from the experience. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the twelve best conferences happening this summer.


Ocean State Summer Writing Conference

June 23-25, 2016 | Kingston, RI | Register by June 19

By day, absorb the wisdom and insights of some of today’s finest writers. By night, explore the area’s colonial history, natural landscapes and seascapes, or the art galleries, museums and world-class dining in Narragansett, Newport, and Providence. Writers of all levels will find master classes, craft sessions, workshops in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting to suit their needs.


The Writers’ League of Texas 2016 Agents & Editors Conference

June 24-26, 2016 | Austin, TX | Register by June 15

The Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference is for writers at every stage of their career. Beginners can learn about the sometimes mystifying publishing industry and prepare themselves for the journey ahead. Those with completed manuscripts can pitch to industry professionals and gain knowledge about self-promotion and marketing.Published writers can deepen their understanding of market trends and network with other rising stars in the world of writing.


Antioch Writers’ Workshop

July 9-16, 2016 | Yellow Springs, OH | No Deadline

Since 1986, the Antioch Writers’ Workshop has held an annual week-long summer program in Yellow Springs, Ohio, to instruct, inspire, nurture and encourage creative writers of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and memoir. In 2016, our 31st Annual Summer Program will be held July 9-15, 2016, at Antioch University Midwest. This year’s summer program will feature keynoter and Sunday morning creative writing craft class instructor Roxane Gay, world-renowned writer and commentator.


The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing

July 10-16 & 17-23, 2016 | Martha’s Vineyard, MA | No Deadline

The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing was founded in order to give writers the opportunity to develop their craft among established authors. The Institute offers a comprehensive week-long focus on writing, providing writers with the necessary time to devote to their art, in the idyllic setting of the Vineyard. Each summer, we invite award-winning authors and poets, literary journal editors, and university creative writing faculty from around the country to lead writing workshops, work one-on-one with individuals, and provide the necessary tips and tools for editing and publishing.


Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

August 4-7, 2016 | Fort Bragg, CA | No Deadline

Participants at the main conference select a morning intensive writing workshop where small groups work closely with the same author for 3 mornings. Choose from poetry, creative nonfiction/memoir, novel, short fiction, emerging writers, or the master class with Les Standiford. Each afternoon, participants are free to attend a wide array of afternoon craft sessions, lectures, and publishing panels. Visiting author literary readings are also open to the entire community. Student open-mic and many opportunities to mingle informally are a long-standing tradition of MCWC.


Pennsylvania Writers Conference

August 5-6, 2016 | Wilkes-Barre, PA | No Deadline

The Pennsylvania Writers Conference is designed to engage, educate and empower the literary community. If you’re a passionate writer, reader, or both, join us on the campus of Wilkes University to learn more about fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting and playwriting. The two-day conference includes an open mic and poetry slam, craft classes, writing workshops, and literary panels hosted by editors, film producers, literary agents, publishers, and writers.


Elk River Writers Workshop

August 8-11, 2016 | Paradise Valley, MT | Apply by July 1

Students who are accepted to the program may choose among workshop formats and faculty. This year, we are excited to welcome 2016 Henry David Thoreau award winner and Chicksaw poet Linda Hogan; bestselling novelist Jamie Ford; PEN Award winning author Nina McConigley and two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Lesley.



August 12-14, 2016 | Lancaster, PA | Register by July 15

Founded in 2010, Hippocampus Magazine is an online publication set out to entertain, educate and engage writers and readers of creative nonfiction. HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers, now in its second year, is an in-the-flesh extension of that three-fold mission. This three-day Pennsylvania writing conference will feature notable speakers, engaging sessions in three tracks, interactive panels, author and attendee readings, social activities, networking opps, and optional, intimate pre-conference workshops and post-conference pitch session.


Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold Conference

September 9-11, 2016 | Dever, CO | Register by September 3

Every year, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is pleased to present the Colorado Gold Conference, where hundreds of writers from all over the US and beyond gather for a full weekend of writerly camaraderie, exciting programming, and opportunities to pitch projects to the industry’s top agents and editors. Programming focuses on the following key areas such as craft imporvement, genre knowledge, career management, industry savvy, and continuing education and professional development for published authors. Whether you’re new to the idea of becoming a writer or you’re a veteran published author, whether you hope to pursue a traditional publishing contract with a big New York publishing house or launch a self-publishing venture, you’re sure to find the skills, knowledge, inspiration, motivation, and support you need at Colorado Gold.


Slice Literary Writers’ Conference

September 10-11, 2016 | Brooklyn, NY | Register by July 15

Slice’s sixth annual writers’ conference will draw more than 130+ agents, authors, editors, and publishing pros. It will take place on September 10 and 11, 2016, at St. Francis College, in downtown Brooklyn. Our panels and workshops will cover topics from the craft of writing (plotting, dialogue, characterization, poetry, and more) to the business of writing (pitch letters, landing a book deal, and beyond). Top editors, agents, and authors will discuss crucial steps to help launch a writer’s career. But a book deal is just the beginning of a writer’s professional journey. We invite leading professionals to offer trade secrets about how they transform a great story into a bestselling book (and what writers can do to help them get there).


The Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children 2016

September 11-15, 2016 | Honesdale, PA | No Deadline

Would you love to work in an intimate setting with published poets, make new friends, immerse yourself in writing poetry and working on the craft? Then this workshop is for you. Our goal is to bring poets together to delve into the heart, joy, and craft of poetry. We will be discussing, learning, writing, revising, and working on the craft of writing poetry for children. This workshop will offer plenty of interaction, direction, and free creative writing time. We’ll focus on All elements of poetry, from the importance of word choice to surprising metaphors. There will be plenty of writing exercises to inspire new poems followed by group discussions. As a group, we’ll brainstorm ideas, share our writing process, and generate original poems. You’ll be inspired to create new poems or bring works in progress to polish.


Hampton Roads Writers 8th Annual Conference

September 15-17, 2016 | Virginia Beach, VA | No deadline

Enjoy one evening plus two full days of workshops, two best-selling keynoters, two first ten-lines critique sessions, 50 workshops during ten breakout sessions, ten-minute agent pitches, cash prize contests for short fiction, short nonfiction, and poetry, complimentary 90-minute cocktail social, and a two hour open mic; workshops cover fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, marketing, and the business of getting published. A book shop, book signings, and many networking opportunities.

200Faith Aeriel is a freelance writer and journalist. She has formerly worked as Associate Editor for Manhattan Book Review, San Francisco Book Review, and Kids’ BookBuzz, during which time she was responsible for writing articles, blog posts, and interviewing authors, as well as editing and managing incoming content for the websites. Faith loves books, cinnamon rolls, and cats.

You can learn more about Faith on her booklover’s blog.