There are numerous writing conferences all over the country. (Book Passage also has an annual conference for mystery writers and for children's book writers/illustrators.) Though pricey, many offer scholarships, and the opportunity to hear from or meet with agents, editors and publishers in the field is immeasurable. Manuscript critiques are an added bonus. Following is a partial list of conferences in North America (and one in Paris), compiled from the Writers' Conferences and Centers website.
Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)
Feb. 2-5, 2011 in Washington DC
Each year, AWP holds its Annual Conference in a different region of North America in order to celebrate the outstanding authors, teachers, writing programs, literary centers, and small press publishers of that region. The Annual Conference typically features 350 presentations: readings, lectures, panel discussions, and Forums plus hundreds of book signings, receptions, dances, and informal gatherings.
Cape Cod Writers Center: Books, Bytes and Beach Conference
August 15-20, 2010 in MA
Join other published and aspiring writers in a friendly, inspirational and relaxed atmosphere at the Craigville Beach Conference Center overlooking Nantucket Sound. Spend the week or a day to learn creative techniques, concentrate on your writing, network with other published and aspiring writers and get to know the professional faculty. Most courses run Monday through Friday for 1½ hours daily.
Mendocino Coast Writers Conference
July 9-31, 2010 in northern CA
Develop your craft in a supportive community, surrounded by the temperate climate and spectacular scenery of California's northern coast. An optional fourth day allows time for environmental field trips. Explore how writing can shape the world. Whatever the genre, whether fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, words are a powerful instrument of change.
Pacific Northwest Children's Book Conference
July 19-23, 2010 Portland, OR
Full week of lectures, workshops, and critique sessions that focus on the different genres of children's books (picture books, chapter books, young adult). Special guest editor. Writers learn writing tips and tools, from poetic language to structure and exposition; tackle the challenges of writing nonfiction; find inspiration; pursue nontraditional markets for your work; learn from outstanding faculty and peers.
Carolina Writer's Network Fall Conference
Nov. 5-7, 2010, Charlotte, NC
More than 25 workshops and panel discussions, including three Master Classes for more advanced writers: Poetry, Creative Nonfiction and Fiction. Agents and editors will participate in the conference's Manuscript Mart and Critique Service, in which registrants have one-on-one sessions with publishing professionals who will discuss their manuscripts' strengths and weaknesses.
Sanibel Island Writers Conference
Nov. 407, 2010, Sanibel, FL
Participants at all stages of development--from notebook scribblers to published novelists--are invited to attend a variety of three-day morning workshops in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and creative nonfiction; afternoon panels on publishing, collaborative writing, and humor writing; and nightly readings--all presented by celebrated and experienced writers and teachers.
Kentucky Women Writers Conference
Sept. 10-12, 2010 in Lexington
Diane Ackerman, Heather Sellers, Patricia Smith, Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, Valerie Wilson Wesley and 5 others lead writing workshops, readings, and discussions.
Aug. 27-30 & Oct. 22-25, 2010 in Colrain, MA
A select group of poets will bring their completed or in-progress book-length or chapbook-length manuscripts to the Round House lodge and there, in a uniquely beautiful house with a view of three mountain ranges, they will meet and work with publishers and editors.
June 20-26, 2010 in Amherst, MA
An intensive writing program for high-school students that runs concurrently with the adult program. An extraordinary week of creative writing workshops, studio courses, and readings by renowned writers.
June 27-July2, 2010
Refine your creativity in historic Montparnasse in the steps of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerals, and James Joyce. Workshops in Short Story, Novel, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Memoir. Literary Walks, a Literary Dinner, and other events