Annual Conference 2019

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Keynote Speakers

Crystal Wilkinson
Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson
Friday Dinner

Crystal Wilkinson is an award-winning feminist poet, novelist, memoirist, and professor from Indian Creek, Kentucky. A founding member of the Affrilachian Poets Collective, she is currently Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Kentucky.

Wilkinson’s latest book The Birds of Opulence, won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, The Judy Young Gaines Prize for Fiction, The Appalachian Book of the Year and the Weatherford Award. She and her partner, Ron Davis co-own and run the beloved independent bookstore, Wild Fig Books and Coffee in Lexington, Kentucky.

Crystal will also be offering an Intensive Session on Sunday on mining autobiography to write moving, memorable fiction.


Chuck Sambuchino
Chuck Sambuchino

Chuck Sambuchino
Saturday Lunch

Chuck Sambuchino is a is a freelancer editor, bestselling book author, and former longtime staffer for Writer’s Digest Books. For many years he edited the Guide to Literary Agents and the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrators Market. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog was one of the largest blogs in publishing, and he wrote the platform guidebook Create Your Writer Platform.

He is a successful freelance editor of queries, synopses, and manuscripts—seeing dozens of clients get agents or book deals following his consultations/edits. He loves meeting new writers. Find out more at

Chuck's Friday's intensive session will take an indepth look at agents, submissions, queries and first pages.

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