60 Fantastic Writers Conferences for Authors, Bloggers and Freelancers

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Because COVID-19 has drastically changed the world we live in, many of these conferences may be canceled, postponed, or moved partially or entirely online. Check with conference organizers for details.

Ready to connect with literary agents, editors and fellow writers at a writers conference?

If you’re tired of learning about interesting opportunities just a little too late, bookmark this list of annual writers conferences (both in the U.S. and international) for future planning, so you can join in on the mingling, learning and inspiration.

And while some of these conferences might not happen next year as planned due to the pandemic, many have moved online becoming even more accessible for those who want to attend.

Writers conferences to consider for 2021 and beyond

Here are 60 writing conventions to check out in the coming year. We’ve broken the list into categories, including blogging, freelancing, genre fiction and more to help you narrow down on what interests you most.

General interest
1. Writer’s Digest Conference

When: Annually in Fall

Where: New York City

The Writer’s Digest editors bring you this annual conference with resources for craft, career and creative inspiration. Nearly 50 agents and editors participate in the infamous Pitch Slam, and dozens of industry experts lead educational sessions.

2. San Francisco Writers Conference

When: Annually in February

Where: San Francisco, CA

Held annually in February, this conference is a “celebration of craft, commerce and community.” Connect with industry experts, bestselling authors, agents, editors and leaders in both self-publishing and traditional publishing.

3. San Francisco Writing for Change Conference

When: Annually in September

Where: Online

This nearly monthly-long series of online events tells nonfiction writers, “Your ideas can change the world.” The conference brings together writers and industry experts to teach nonfiction writers about writing, publishing, marketing and technology.

4. Northern Colorado Writers Conference

When: Annually in April/May

Where: Fort Collins, CO, and online

The Northern Colorado Writers group provides support and encouragement to writers of all genres and levels through this annual conference, as well as through monthly meetings, classes and other networking and social events.

The in-person events are open to limited attendees, so you’ll get a more intimate experience.

5. Association of Writers and Writing Programs

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Various North American cities

Each year, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) hosts the Annual Conference & Bookfair in a different city. The event celebrates authors, teachers, students, writing programs, literary centers and publishers in the region hosting the conference. With more than 12 thousand writers and readers attending each year, AWP is the largest literary conference in North America.

6. Las Vegas Writers Conference

When: Annually in spring

Where: Las Vegas, NV

Henderson Writers Group hosts this annual conference for writers. The organization also hosts three meetings per week in Las Vegas. They’re open to the public, and members can read their writing for critique by attendees.

7. Midwest Writers Workshop Super Mini-conference

When: Annually in July

Where: Muncie, IN

This day-and-half conference is a more affordable option for writers at all levels. The Super Mini offers a variety of in-depth small sessions in craft taught by published authors. You’ll also get to mingle with other writers and industry experts.

8. Writing Day Workshops

When and Where: Year-round throughout the U.S. and Canada

Each of these day-long workshops offers a crash course on how to get your book published, with classes and presentations on everything from writing queries to working with an agent to marketing your book.

9. Missouri Writers Guild Conference

When: Annually in Spring

Where: St. Louis, MO

The Missouri Writers Guild is a 100+-year-old organization for professional writers in all genres across the Midwest. Join its annual conference for writers at all levels for breakout sessions and masterclasses covering the craft and business of creative writing.

10. Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise

When: Bi-annually February-March (Next: 2022)

Where: Departs from Miami, FL for the Bahamas

Join this unique writers’ conference…at sea.

For five days, writers can enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Sea while networking and learning about the publishing industry.

Genre fiction
11. Romance Writers of America Annual Conference

When: Annually in July

Where: Location varies

Romance writers gather at this annual genre conference to learn more about the business of being an author. Get an opportunity to meet and mingle with budding and successful romance authors, as well as workshops and events to boost your author career.

12. SleuthFest

When: Annually in February-March

Where: Boca Raton, Florida

SleuthFest is an annual conference for mystery, suspense and thriller writers sponsored by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

This conference includes writing and marketing workshops, networking events, and pitch sessions with guest agents and editors. It even includes hands-on forensic workshops!

13. Worldcon and North American Science Fiction Convention

When: Annually

Where: Various locations around the world

The World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) is an annual gathering of the science fiction and fantasy community, held in a different location around the world each year. When Worldcon is held outside of North America, the corresponding NASFiC is held in North America.

This five-day international conference is attended by thousands of writers, artists, fans, editors, publishers, academics and dealers. The event embraces science fiction in all the forms, including film, TV, art, comics, anime and manga, and gaming.

14. Killer Nashville

When: Annually in August

Where: Nashville, TN

While attractive to mystery/thriller authors and screenwriters for its unique crime-focused sessions, Killer Nashville welcomes writers of all levels and genres. 

“Imagine hearing a CIA Analyst, an FBI agent on terrorism, Dr Bill Bass on The Body Farm, bestselling CJ Box on how he juggles his writing and plans his days, Heyward Gould on screenplays, and so much more. They even had a crime scene, with awards to those who studied the clues and figured out the mystery,” mystery author C. Hope Clark reflected on her 2012 Killer Nashville experience.

15. Virtual Winter Thrills (Thrillerfest)

When: Annually January–March

Where: Online

“It is the only conference where I really feel at home — and [International Thriller Writers] is truly the tribe I belong to…” says Joanna Penn (thriller author J.F. Penn) at The Creative Penn. “I can talk about ways to murder people and weapons of choice and not feel weird. I can learn from some of the biggest names in the business, whose hours of writing experience number in the many thousands.”

Virtual Winter Thrills is the latest iteration of the popular Thrillerfest writers conference from International Thriller Writers. It includes the perennial Practice PitchFest sessions and Master Class with best selling authors, plus a new series of craft and business classes called Winter Thrills MBA.

16. BlogHer Creators Summit

When: Annually in summer

Where: Various U.S. cities

Previously known simply as BlogHer, the reimagined Creators Summit promises to bring all the heat of thought leaders and influencers that the conference has been known for for nearly two decades. Attend workshops, panels and keynotes for anyone who wants to level up their online business. You’ll even get to engage with popular beauty and wellness brands.

17. We All Grow Summit

When: Annually in the spring

Where: Near Los Angeles, CA

We All Grow is a unique professional conference for Latinas working in the digital space. If you’re an online influencer or creative entrepreneur, this conference can help you network with others, learn strategies for personal and business growth, and connect with brands that want to reach your community.

18. Alt Summit

When: Annually in March

Where: Palm Springs, CA

Originally the Altitude Design Summit for design bloggers, this annual conference has expanded since its founding in 2009 to include thousands of creative entrepreneurs, content creators, artists, and influencers. The emphasis is on connecting and collaborating with fellow creatives, and you’ll also get to attend keynotes, panels, and TED-style talks from high-caliber celebrities of popular culture and the online business world.

19. South by Southwest

When: Annually in March

Where: Austin, TX

South by Southwest has become the country’s premier event for the music, comedy, film and digital technology industries — basically, any creative person or fan!  In 2021, it’s launching the first SXSW Online, a digital extension of the massive convention.

“What I love about SXSW — it always brings out my spontaneous side. I don’t make any plans until five minutes beforehand, and I love it,” says Jenny Blake in a post on Life After College, The Number One Tip for SXSW Newbie.

20. American Society of Journalists and Authors Annual Conference

When: Annually in Fall

Where: Various U.S. cities

Attend this one-day conference to learn how to manage a freelance business or publish a book in the new media environment. You can also find other one-day events throughout the year in other U.S. cities, covering various topics relevant to nonfiction writers, journalists and authors.

21. Society for Professional Journalists Spring Conference Series

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Various U.S. cities

These day-long professional development meetings take place across 12 regions throughout the U.S. They draw pros, students and educators for networking and training in topics ranging from writing skills to using new technologies.

22. Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Various U.S. cities

Learn about new media for journalists, writing for various industries, managing your freelancing business, and more in this three-day conference for journalists and business writers and editors. Also keep an eye out for focused virtual and in-person trainings around the country.

Children’s book writing and illustrating
23. SCBWI Annual Conferences

When: Various dates

Where: Various locations

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators hosts a slew of regional conferences around the world throughout the year, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles each August, and the Annual Winter Conference in New York each February.

24. WriteOnCon

When: Annually in February

Where: Online, WriteOnCon.org

WriteOnCon is an online-only writers’ conference for children’s writers. You can access keynote events and critique forums for free and the rest of the conference content for a fee starting at $10. You’ll also have an opportunity to connect with critique partners. 

Christian writing
25. Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference

When: Annually

Where: near Asheville, NC

Held annually at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center nestled in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference is the premier training and networking event for both seasoned and aspiring writers and speakers.

26. Northwestern Christian Writers Conference

When: Annually in July

Where: St. Paul, MN

This annual conference by the University of Northwestern and Faith Radio celebrates and cultivates writers who are Christians. Hone your craft and engage your faith at the same time through keynotes, workshops, Q&A panels, networking events, and one-on-one appointments with professional writers and industry leaders.

International (Outside of U.S.)
27. Surrey International Writers’ Conference

When: Annually in October

Where: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

The Surrey International Writers’ Conference is the “most comprehensive professional development conference of its kind in Canada.” Open to writers of all levels and genres, the conference offers an opportunity to show off your work to the international literary marketplace as well as to hone your craft and business skills.

28. The Vancouver Writers Festival

When: Annually in October

Where: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

In the cultural heart of Vancouver, B.C., on Granville Island, this festival invites authors, poets, spoken word performers and graphic novelists to celebrate the art of the story. It takes place for six days each October and continues throughout the year through special events and the Incite reading series.

In its own words: “The Vancouver Writers Fest turns reading into a community experience, bringing people together to share thoughts, explore ideas and witness brilliant conversations.”

29. Kingston WritersFest

When: Annually in September

Where: Kingston, Ontario

Writers and readers in attendance will get to participate in thought-provoking discussions and unique events that champion artistic expression and development. Hosted in a notably literary city, this festival is all about “the power of the written word to create a strong, engaged community.”

30. WordFest

When: Annually in April and October

Where: Calgary, Alberta 

A not-for-profit charitable arts organization, WordFest “brings readers and writers together through a premier international writers festival and year-round literary events.” Throughout the year, book clubs and other activities are available to those who want to engage with fellow writers and readers. Guests can enjoy readings, workshops, panel discussions and presentations that work toward connecting Calgarians through transformative ideas. 

31. Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story

When: Annually in spring

Where: Wingham, Ontario

This annual festival includes readings, workshops, masterclasses and lectures, as well as opportunities to mingle with other writers. It also includes the Alice Munro Short Story Contest for youth and adults. Submissions open in January.

The festival is open to writers from anywhere, but you have to be a Canadian writer to enter the contest.

32. Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival

When: Annually in April 

Where: Montreal, Quebec

This bilingual (English/French) festival features programming for adults and children. Attendees enjoy workshops, readings and lectures from speakers across genres of writing and art.

The festival is free to attend, but you’ll have to pay a fee for select activities.

33. gritLIT

When: Annually in April 

Where: Hamilton, Ontario

This four-day festival is a celebration of Canadian authors. Its purpose is to highlight local writers and engage with the community.

In its own words, “gritLIT brings the best contemporary Canadian writers to Hamilton to engage with local booklovers, to inspire and to be inspired by Hamilton authors, to promote a love of reading in young audiences and to celebrate the exchange of diverse ideas, experiences and viewpoints.  ”

34. International Festival of Authors

When: Annually in October

Where: Toronto, Ontario

Since 1974, this popular festival has highlighted authors of contemporary literature. It includes 11 days of readings, interviews, artist talks, round-table discussions, book signings and several special events.

IFOA features novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers and biographers from Canada and around the world.

The Toronto Star called this Canada’s “premier literary festival” and “a top destination for both international superstars and up-and-coming writers.”

35. Lakefield Literary Festival

When: Annually in July

Where: Lakefield, Ontario

In its own words, the festival “a celebration of the rich literary heritage of Lakefield and the surrounding area which includes the works of Catharine Parr Traill, Susanna Moodie and Isabella Valancy Crawford, among others, all of who lived and wrote in Lakefield. .” It includes author readings and masterclasses in writing for all ages.

Admission price per event ranges between about CA$20 and CA$35.

36. LitFest Alberta

When: Annually in October

Where: Edmonton, Alberta

LitFest celebrates nonfiction through readings, lectures, panel discussions and workshops. It covers diverse topics — from food writing to feminism. Several events are free. Paid events run about CA$12 each.

37. The Ottawa International Writers Festival

When: Annually in October and April

Where: Ottawa, Ontario

This festival celebrates ideas and imagination! In its own words:

“Twice a year, we convene an international celebration of ideas to recharge our imaginations. From politics to poetry, science to music, history to thrillers, we celebrate the full diversity of the word and the gifted writers who guide us in our exploration of the world.”

Programming includes a poetry cabaret, town-hall style discussion, and fiction and nonfiction readings. To celebrate writing “outside the pages of books,” the festival often includes staged play readings, feature films, documentaries, CD launches and songwriter circles.

38. When Words Collide

When: Annually in August

Where: Calgary, Alberta

Readers, writers, editors, publishers, agents and other artists attend this festival, which highlights commercial and literary fiction. When Words Collide welcomes writers of most genre fiction, YA, children’s books, nonfiction and poetry.

UK & Ireland
39. The London Book Fair

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Olympia, London

In its own words: “The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content.”

LBF brings together authors, publishers and readers in the cultural hub of London to explore and understand the rapidly-changing publishing world.

40. Dublin Writers’ Conference

When: Annually in June 

Where: Dublin, Ireland

From open mic readings to illuminating presentations, here’s what you can expect from the this conference hosted by the book promotion agency Books Go Social:

“This conference will help you to improve your writing craft, publish successfully, and plan the marketing necessary for any author to achieve success whether traditionally published or self-published. This conference provides practical support, valuable training and an opportunity to meet and get to know fellow writers in one of the world’s great literary cities.”

You’ll have the opportunity to attend training sessions led by renowned authors and industry experts, where you’ll learn about the craft and business of writing, as well as connect with fellow writers.

41. Listowel Writers’ Week

When: Annually in May

Where: Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland

Running nearly 50 years, this annual festival for YA literature includes writing workshops, readings, interviews, forums, book launches and masterclasses. Enjoy tours of the historic Irish town and access to local and international writers.

The festival also includes several writing competitions for novel, short story, humor and playwriting. Awards even exist for sports journalism, writing for readers with special needs and writing in prisons.

42. Stoke Newington Literary Festival

When: Annually in June 

Where: London, UK

This festival celebrates the diverse, “radical, rabble-rousing and literary history” of the Stoke Newington area of Hackney in London. 

Free and paid events feature readings and performances across genres and media. Admission to paid events ranges from £3 to £10.

43. Strokestown International Poetry Festival

When: Annually during the first weekend in May

Where: Strokestown, County Roscommon, Ireland

This annual festival has been celebrating poetry since 1999. Its mission is to “showcase contemporary poetry, local, national and international, foster the development of emerging writers and consolidate poetry in local cultural life bringing it to the widest possible audience.”

The weekend includes readings from several established and up-and-coming poets, a poetry workshop and poetry competitions for poems in English and Irish.

44. Hay Festival

When: Annually in Fall and Spring

Where: Hay-on-Wye, Wales

President Bill Clinton dubbed this festival “Woodstock of the mind,” according to The Telegraph.

The Hay Festival in Wales joins coinciding festivals around the world to celebrate writing of all kinds through panel discussions and lectures.

In its own words, “Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking.”

45. Canterbury Arts Conference

When: Annually in July or August 

Where: Canterbury, Kent, UK

Originally the Warnborough College Conference on the Arts, this conference has grown to accommodate an international audience. It welcomes artists in all disciplines and media, academics, students, historians and other professionals.

Participants have the opportunity to share and publish research, and network with peers. The conference includes creative writing and visual art workshops, as well as presentations of art in a variety of media.

46. Ledbury Poetry Festival

When: Annually in July

Where: Ledbury, UK

The Daily Mail called this festival, launched in 1997, “the world’s most diverse poetry festival.”

It really has something for everyone. The festival features an array of community events to celebrate the writing and performance of poetry. Attend readings, writing workshops, panel discussions, musical performances, craft seminars and open mics in the “lively and picturesque market town” of Ledbury.

It also includes programs for new writers and a poetry competition.

47. Geneva Writers Group

When: Various dates throughout the year

Where: Various locations in Geneva, Switzerland 

This group is brimming with opportunity. It offers several informative events throughout the year: the biennial Geneva Writers’ Conference; a “Meet the Agents” weekend on alternate years; monthly Saturday workshops from September to June that include masterclasses and critiquing sessions; coordinated writing groups; and an annual literary cruise on Lake Geneva. 

Whether you’re an established author or just starting out, GWG welcomes writers from around the world and offers a supportive community that encourages creative writing. 

48. Paris Café Writing

When: Various dates in April and November

Where: Le Marais, Paris

Patricia Tennison, a professor and author of award-honored books, leads a small group of eight writers in a week-long workshop. Accompanied by her husband Joseph Prendergast, a poet and teacher, Tennison guides writers of all experience levels through five morning seminars and a private writing session. 

Some meals and activities are included in the registration fee, but guests are responsible for lodging and transportation. 

49. Frankfurt Writers’ Conference 

When: Annually in March

Where: Höchst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

This conference began in 2018 and anticipates organizing an even bigger and better event each year. In two fun-filled days, the conference hosts an interactive workshop and discussions led by an accomplished list of German and English-speaking literary agents, publishing representatives and writers. 

Expect to learn ways to improve your pitch, receive insider knowledge on the world of publishing and more. 

50. Bread Loaf in Sicily Writers’ Conference

When: Annually in September 

Where: Erice, Sicily

This seven-day writers conference takes place in the beautiful, ancient town of Erice.

Attendance is limited to just five groups of six participants for an intimate experience.

The conference includes small-group workshops, plus classes and lectures for all attendees. It’s open to fiction, poetry and nonfiction writers.

For additional options, check out sister Bread Loaf conferences in Ripton, Vermont.

51. Information, Medium & Society: Eighteenth International Conference on Publishing Studies

When: Annually in July

Where: Venice, Italy

Since 2003, this evolving research network has brought writers, readers, publishers, emerging scholars and more together to discuss “investigations on the nature and forms of information, and publishing practices as distinctive modes of social knowledge and cultural production.”

Attend a range of sessions and presentations that allow opportunities for networking and learning more about key issues in the industry.

52. Iceland Writers Retreat

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Reykjavik, Iceland

Whether you’re an aspiring, published or hobby writer, you’re welcome to join this international writing retreat. It includes small-group workshops, dinner and receptions for networking, and tours of the area.

This program focuses on literary fiction and nonfiction books, so it’s not a good fit if you want to learn more about freelancing, online writing, genre fiction, poetry or other media.

Asia and Oceania
53. NonfictioNOW

When: Annually in December

Where: Wellington, New Zealand 

In its own words:

“The NonfictioNOW Conference is a regular gathering of over 400 nonfiction writers, teachers and students from around the world in an effort to explore the past, present, and future of nonfiction.”

Roundtable discussions and keynote speakers highlight a variety of nonfiction, including memoir, essay and literary journalism; and multimedia, including graphic and video essay.

54. Melbourne Writers Festival

When: Annually in late August/early September

Where: Melbourne, Australia

This festival for readers, writers and thinkers engages participants through, storytelling, discussion, intellectual debate, educational programs, live performance, music and art events.

Enjoy writing workshops, lectures and panel discussions on all forms of creative writing.

55. Asian Festival of Children’s Content 

When: Annually in May or September 

Where: Various Southeast Asian countries

Guests joining this conference get to have unique and culturally rich experiences, hosted in a different Southeast Asian country each year. Workshops, masterclasses, presentations, panels and other events organized by the Singapore Book Council explore the world of children’s publishing, from creation and distribution to consumer consumption. 

Whether you’re an academic, a writer, editor, agent, publisher, teacher, parent or anything in between, guests are encouraged to partake in the celebration of Asian content for children and young adults, plus take advantage of opportunities to network and hone their craft.

Central and South America
56. San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival

When: Annually in February

Where: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

Established and emerging writers are welcome at this prestigious multicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish) writers’ conference and literary festival.

Get a chance to network with writers from around the world and hone your craft through workshops, masterclasses, keynote presentations, panel discussions and seminars.

And don’t forget the beautiful location! Bill Maxwell, opinion columnist at Tampa Bay Times, said of his recent experience in San Miguel:

“Rarely have I fallen in love with a landlocked city. … This is a magical place, starting with its colonial architecture. Many of its large and colorful homes are nestled among jacaranda and decorated with bougainvillea. As I walked the narrow cobblestone streets, music and gaiety greeted me.”

57. The Cuenca International Writers Conference

When: Annually in August

Where: Cuenca, Ecuador 

Ready to learn, network and recharge? At this conference, “you’ll laugh, you’ll learn, you’ll meet new friends who understand the writing life, and you’ll return home with a fresh perspective that allows new ideas to flourish.” 

Tucked away in what’s considered one of the most beautiful cities in South America, the conference provides writers of all backgrounds intimate networking opportunities with distinguished presenters, stimulating workshops and unforgettable cultural experiences. 

58. Belize Writers’ Conference

When: Annually

Where: Hopkins, Belize

This five-day conference invites fiction, creative nonfiction and memoir writers to vacation with literary agents and attend workshops designed to help you boost your career as an author. Conference registration includes meals and lodging at The Lodge at Jaguar Reef resort. Conference participants are selected through an application process.

Indie publishing and self-publishing
59. Self Publishing Advice Conference (SelfPubCon)

When: Annually in Spring and Fall

Where: Online

This online conference for authors interested in self-publishing runs fringe to the London Book Fair and Digital Book World.

The conference is free and runs 24 sessions — one an hour for 24 hours. You can register to learn how to attend the next conference, and you can attend sessions live or catch up on your own time.

60. Orlando Reads Books

When: Annually in Fall

Where: Orlando, FL

This four-day event includes workshops, panels and social events for indie, hybrid and traditionally-published authors. It features sessions on craft and marketing, as well as events that let you mingle with readers and fellow authors.

Which writing conventions and conferences do you plan to attend this year? Tell us your favorites in the comments below.

This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.

Photo via Matej Kastelicg/ Shutterstock 

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  • December 10, 2020
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