A few of these conferences offer scholarships and financial aid. While conferences lasting several days can be expensive, one-day workshops are usually affordable. (The one-day workshop held in Ohio on May 2 is free.)
14th annual Muse and the Marketplace Conference. May 1 - 3, 2015: Boston, Massachusetts. "The Muse and the Marketplace is a three-day literary conference designed to give aspiring writers a better understanding about the craft of writing fiction and non-fiction, to prepare them for the changing world of publishing and promotion, and to create opportunities for meaningful networking. On all three days, prominent and nationally-recognized established and emerging authors lead sessions on the craft of writing - the "muse" side of things - while editors, literary agents, publicists and other industry professionals lead sessions on the business side - the "marketplace."
The Massachusetts Poetry Festival. May 1 - 3, 2015: Salem, Massachusetts. Workshops, panels, readings, music, visual arts presentations, and a book fair featuring small presses and literary magazines. Featured poets: Rita Dove, Richard Blanco, Stephen Burt, Denise Duhamel, Nick Flynn, Regie Gibson, Jorie Graham, Richard Hoffman, Adrian Matejka, Marge Piercy, Rachel Wiley.
Kauai Writers Conference. May 1 - 3, 2015: Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Kapaa, Hawaii. craft talks, publishing presentations, agent consultations, and readings for fiction writers and nonfiction writers. Participating writers include Lynne Cox, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Kristin Hannah, Jill Landis, Laura Moriarty, and Colson Whitehead; participating publishing professionals include Julie Barer (Barer Literary), Silissa Kenney (St. Martin's Press), and Elizabeth Kracht (Kimberly Cameron and Associates). Registration is limited to 150 participants.
Gold Rush Writers Conference. May 1 - 3, 2015: Mokelumne Hill, CA. "Writing professionals will guide you to a publishing bonanza through a series of panels, specialty talks, workshops and celebrity lectures. Go one-on-one with successful poets, novelists, biographers, memoirists and short story writers." Writing workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Children's, Fiction, Marketing, Non-fiction, Poetry, Publishing, Romance, Travel, Young Adult. Faculty: Alex Espinoza, Mary Volmer, Kevin Arnold, Gillian Bagwell, Helen Bonner, Kathy Boyd-Fellure, Lou Gonzalez, Luisa Giulianetti, Kathie Isaac-Luke, Indigo Moor, Monika Rose, Pam Mundale, Lucy Sanna, Amy Smith, Dawn Spinella, Sandy Towle, Jennifer Tristano.
Write Now! May 2, 2015: Raleigh, North Carolina. One-day writing conference sponsored by Triangle Area Freelancers featuring tracks devoted to fiction, nonfiction and technical writing. Open to writers of all skill levels.
Columbus State Community College Writers Conference. May 2, 2015: Columbus, Ohio. Workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Business/Technical, Fiction, Journalism, Marketing, Non-fiction, Playwriting, Poetry, Publishing, Screenwriting. This one-day conference is free of charge.
Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat. May 3 - 8 in Waialua, Hawaii at Camp Mokulē‘ia, Oahu. Offers workshops in fiction and nonfiction, readings, one-on-one consultations, publishing panels, yoga sessions. The theme of the retreat is "nā wahi ho‘oulu," or “Places That Inspire Us.”Faculty includes fiction writer Kathryn Ma and nonfiction writers Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Don Wallace.
11th annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. May 4 - 10 at various locations in New York City. readings, performances, and panel discussions for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. This year’s festival will focus on literature and cultures of the African continent. Participating writers include poets Yahya Hassan, Tracy K. Smith, and Yusef Komunyakaa; fiction writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Edwidge Danticat, Boubacar Boris Diop, Richard Flanagan, Aminatta Forna, Rachel Kushner, Sigrid Nunez, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Colm Tóibín, and Binyavanga Wainaina; and nonfiction writers Mona Eltahawy and Wayne Koestenbaum. Many events are free.
Lakefly Writers Conference. May 8 - 9: Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Workshops, talks, and a bookfair for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. Participating writers include fiction writer Barry Wightman and nonfiction writers Kelli Dunham and Michael Perry. Admittance to the Author Showcase on May 9 is free and open to the public.
Seaside Writers Conference. May 11 - 17: Seaside Assembly Hall in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. "The Seaside Writers Conference is an annual gathering of creative writers from all over the nation, and features award-winning writers in poetry and fiction and screenwriting who will offer a full week of intensive writing workshops, one day seminars, school outreach programs, and social events." Faculty includes poet Seth Brady Tucker and fiction writer Matt Bondurant. Participating publishing professionals include Melissa Flashman (Trident Media Group) and Roger D. Hodge (Oxford American). Some financial aid available to published writers.
Idaho Writer & Readers Rendezvous. May 14 - 16, 2015: Boise, Idaho. Workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Business/Technical, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Journalism, Marketing, Mystery, Nature, Non-fiction, Poetry, Publishing, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Screenwriting, Travel, Young Adult. Faculty Authors, agents, editors and publishing gurus including Katherine Neville, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Rusch, Robin O’Bryant, Jen Mann, and Danny Manus.
The 2015 Milwaukee Writing Workshop, May 15, 2015 - a full-day of “How to Get Published” workshops. "This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches writers, as well. This year’s faculty so far includes literary agent Jennie Goloboy (Red Sofa Literary), literary agent Laura Crockett (Triada US Literary), literary agent Abby Saul (Browne & Miller Literary), literary agent Elizabeth Evans (Jean V. Naggar Literary), literary agent Jodell Sadler (Sadler Children’s Literary), and literary agent Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary)."
The Writer's Pen Weekend Workshop. May 15 - 16, 2015: Bel Air, Maryland. Book Fair with over 20 authors. Keynote presentation with author Kevin Cowherd; 36 workshops with 19 instructors in Fiction, Marketing, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Publishing.
Chicago Writing Workshop, May 16, 2015, Chicago, IL. Attending agents: Marcy Posner (Folio Literary); Jen Karsbaek (Fuse Literary); Jennifer Mattson (Andrea Brown Literary); Tina Schwartz (The Purcell Agency); Dan Balow (Steve Laube Literary); Jodell Sadler (The Sadler Agency).
Pennwriters Conference, May 15-17, 2015, Pittsburgh, PA. Friday keynote Ridley Pearson is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 48 novels, divided almost equally between adult suspense and young adult adventure. Attending agents: Danielle Chiotti (Upstart Crow Literary); Uwe Stender (TriadaUS Literary); and June Clark (FinePrint Literary).
Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp. May 15-23, 2015: West Bend WI. 6-day, residential workshop-retreat for writers in all genres working on a novel or creative nonfiction book. Workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Publishing, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult. Registration is limited to 30 people.
Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference. May 22 - 24: Wyndham University Center in Pittsburgh. Master classes, craft discussions, publishing talks, pitch sessions, and readings for creative nonfiction writers. Participating writers include Jason Bittle, Maggie Jones, Jill Kandel, Marissa Landrigan, Dinty W. Moore, Leslie Rubinkowski, and Anjali Sachdeva. Participating publishing professionals include Stephanie Bane (Smith Brothers Agency), Torie Bosch (Future Tense Books), Rachel Ekstrom (Irene Goodman Literary Agency), Lee Gutkind and Hattie Fletcher (Creative Nonfiction), Saeed Jones (BuzzFeed), Adam Kushner (Washington Post), Emily Loose, and Alan Olifson (Moth StorySLAM).
Algonkian Retreat for Aspiring Commercial Novel Authors, Short Fiction Writers and Memoirists, May 27 - 31, 2015. Algonkian Park, Virginia. "You can show us your manuscript, improve your skills, clear your head, have your work read by our writer mentors, whatever works for you, whatever helps you grow and discover your vision as a writer. You discuss with us ahead of time via the Algonkian Writer Retreat Application the goals you wish to accomplish, and we'll work with you to make it happen. Do you desire a review of your short stories or flash fiction? A line edit? Do you wish to discuss the reality of the current fiction market, your novel project, plot and characters, or perhaps get feedback on the opening hook or a few sample chapters? Or would you simply like a relaxed and productive dialogue about your goals as a writer?"
Bear River Writers’ Conference. May 28 - June 1: Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake, near Petoskey, Michigan. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as readings, discussions, nature walks, and time to write. The faculty includes poets Stephen Dunn, Laura Kasischke, Jamaal May, and Richard Tillinghast; fiction writers Nami Mun, Antonya Nelson, and Thisbe Nissen; and creative nonfiction writers Jerry Dennis, Thomas Lynch, and Sue William Silverman.
River Teeth Nonfiction Conference. May 29 - 31: Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. Individual manuscript consultations, seminars, readings, open mics, and book signings. Participating creative nonfiction writers include Jill Christman, Steven Church, Valerie Due, Steven Harvey, Kate Hopper, Sonya Huber, Joe Mackall, Ana Maria Spagna, Cheryl Strayed, Ginny Taylor, Jerald Walker, and Sarah M. Wells.
Hedgebrook VORTEXT Salon. May 29 - 31: Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, about 35 miles northwest of Seattle. Workshops, panel discussions, lectures, open mics, and time to write in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for women writers. The faculty includes poet Victoria Redel; fiction writers Carole DeSanti, Ruth Ozeki, Dani Shapiro, and Hannah Tinti; and nonfiction writer Rahna Reiko Rizzuto.
Indiana University Writers’ Conference. May 30 - June 3 on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. Workshops in poetry and fiction, craft classes and readings. The faculty includes poets Gabrielle Calvocoressi and Adrian Matejka; fiction writer and artist Lynda Barry; fiction writers Lou Berney, Dan Chaon, and Alissa Nutting; and performance artist John-Paul Zaccarini.