Alabama Writers Conclave

2019 Conference

The annual AWC conference.

Speakers & Faculty

AWC 2019 Conference in Orange Beach

November 1-3 in Orange Beach, Alabama

The 2019 Conference will take place from November 1st to November 3rd in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Lodging: Where To Stay

For those planning to stay overnight, you can:

  • Book a special hotel rate for AWC at Fairfield Inn & Suites Orange Beach for $99 - $119 per night.
    The last day to book at this rate is Thursday, October 3, 2019.

  • Plan an AirBNB rental with fellow members or friends.

  • Book a stay at a local hotel or resort of your choice.

Orange Beach Recreation Center

Orange Beach Recreation Center

Anchor Bar & Grill

Anchor Bar & Grill


Please choose a 10 minute slot to pitch to agents Steven C. McCullough and Karson Whatley of Quickfire Talent Agency. Time slots cannot be rescheduled after Oct. 27. Remember that each individual is responsible for his or her prompt arrival at the time selected below. Punctuality is essential, as other appointments depend upon prompt arrival and departure.

Sunday's location will be the Orange Beach Recreation Center - 4849 Wilson Blvd. Orange Beach, AL 36561. Visit the Music Rooms located between MPR1 and the Academics Room.

Schedule for Friday, Nov. 1st

5:-00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Anchor Bar and Grill
4575 S Wilson Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
free venue, food & drink on your own

Saturday, November 2nd

Workshops will take place from 8 am to 5 pm at Orange Beach Recreation Center.

8:00 am - 8:55 am

A genuine adaption is the result of meticulous detailed work. Many long days and nights spent interrogating the original source material and questioning every choice. Everything has to fight for its place. The job of adapting certainly involves more steps in the wrong direction than the right. During this workshop you will learn tools to help you navigate around missteps, knowing what to cut or keep, and finding a clear path when adapting an existing story for the stage.

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN AUTHOR with Johnnie Bernhard (Academics Room)
Award-winning author Johnnie Bernhard will take writers step by step through the acquisition process: finding the right literary agent, writing a query letter and synopsis for a potential publisher, and developing a professional profile as an author.

9:00 am - 9: 55 am

“THE WRITING PROCESS” with Adam Prince (MPR1)
We understand that creative writing is a process, but we’re often not quite sure what that process might look like, and the prescriptive, connect-the-dots approach of many writing how-to books threatens to suck the life out our work. From conception, to prewriting, to outlining, to early drafts, to revision, all the way through to the final draft, this workshop serves as a creative toolbox for making your process more effective, creative, and fun.

STORYTELLING THROUGH MUSIC” with Devon Morrisette (Academic’s Room)
Even when all the elements of a great story are present, you may find yourself wanting more. This is why, whether in radio, film, or live theatre, composers sit down and put pen to paper a score that helps the writer carry their story to the audience. The score should not overshadow or take away from the story. It is an extension of the story and the composer should connect to the text as much as the writer. In this workshop, you will learn the steps in crafting the perfect score to go along with your original work, by connecting to the emotion of the work and translating that into music that will not leave the audience wanting.'

10:00 am - 10:55 am

The Surrealists and their art, whether literary or visual, were deeply influenced by Sigmund Freud and his attempts to access the unconscious, the concept around which all of psychoanalysis revolves. If you have ever felt that your attachment to the rational, reasonable, and probable is restricting your ability to be creative, then the Surrealists’ techniques for stimulating their writing by tapping into the unconscious might be useful to you. In this workshop, we will explore our dreamscapes, play the game of Exquisite Corpse, and engage in various exercises to produce material from the unconscious for use in making collage poetry.

“DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING & CONTENT EDITING” with Johnnie Bernhard (Academics Room)
Award-winning author Johnnie Bernhard will guide writers through the differences in developmental and content editing, using literary elements and plot tips to improve writing.

11:00 am - 11:55 am

Negative Capability Press publisher, author, and state poet laureate emeritus Sue Walker will explore work that doesn’t conform: poetry: fiction: nonfiction. She will discuss new trends in literary fiction that blur and bend genre.

“THE WRITING INDUSTRY: WHY AGENTS?” with Steven McCullough (Academics Room)
Learn about the current landscape of the industry, with special attention to the roles of agents, editors, publishers, etc. Participants will be shown proper etiquette when pitching to agents and publishers alike.

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch on your own

2:00 pm - 2:55 pm

“BEST PRACTICES ON BOOK REVIEWING” with Don Noble (Academics Room)
Don Noble is professor emeritus of English at the University of Alabama, host of Alabama Public Television’s author interview program Bookmark, and book reviewer for Alabama Public Radio. Don has reviewed one book a week for public radio for the last eighteen years, about 750 books. Don will talk about his experiences as a reviewer and give practical advice on how to get started reviewing books and why it is so important that people do it, especially writers. He will also give some hints for authors on how to get a reviewer's positive attention.

A few years ago, Nathan Poole had the privilege of spending several days in the archives at Georgia College, sitting in a glass room, furiously reading Flannery O’Connor’s manuscripts, typing up entire early drafts. In this workshop, he will outline some of his findings as participants examine the moves O’Connor made as she worked on one of her last short stories, “Parker’s Back.” (Attendees to this workshop should try to read a copy this story before attending. Download here.)

3:00 pm - 3:55 pm

One way to engage with a poet or poem you care about (or even want to argue with!) is to write a poem of response. In this workshop, Jennifer will provide models for writing poems “after” or in response to another poem, and participants will have time to draft their own poems. A selection of poems to respond to will be provided, but writers may bring a poem with them if they wish.

“COMMUNITY: A PREREQUISITE TO GOOD WRITING” with Steven McCullough (Academics Room)
Today's market is cutting edge and overwhelmed; authors needs to be at the top of their game before pitching. Community is a vital way to build repertoire and grow in quality while helping your neighbors do the same. Steven will discuss building relations with other authors and artists in order to hone one another in writing.

4:00 pm - 4:45 pm

PANEL ON EDITING with Liz Reed, Johnnie Bernhard, Sue Walker (MPR1)

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

NETWORK & NETWINE SOCIAL at Cosmo’s Courtyard (225689 Canal Road Orange Beach, AL)

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

AWARDS BANQUET (Magnolia Hall, located at 225689 Canal Road in Orange Beach, between Buzzcatz Coffee and Luna’s)
Catered banquet dinner and announcement of 2019 Contest Winners accompanied by readings. Menu will include Grilled Chicken Breast with a Tasso Cream Sauce; Grilled Gulf Shrimp; Grilled Gulf Mahi Mahi with a Lemon Beurre Blanc; Cucumber and Tomato Salad; Corn Salad; Roasted Mixed Vegetables; Mashed Potatoes; Green Bean Almondine; Bread and Butter; Assorted Desserts.

One could argue that the modern short story was born as an outside form in the same moment it embraced outsiders as its subject. If that’s true, it might also be true that “the marginal” is an encoded, even ancestral force in the imagery of short stories. With this in mind, it might do us good to study a few fiction writers, both historical and contemporary, who make compelling use of imagery and characters on the fringe and to see what techniques are at play in the combination of these elements.

Sunday, November 3rd

8:00 am - 8:55 am

ANNUAL MEMBER MEETING (Orange Beach Recreation Center, MPR1)
We will vote on big questions, including name changes and programs. This is an important opportunity for AWC members to learn more about their Board and to express their hopes and preferences for the future. Don’t skip it.

9:00 am- 9:55 am

In this workshop, Jennifer will give a brief overview of the history and types of memoir writing, lead exercises in delving into memory, choosing your subject, and enhancing writing with sensory details, and provide models and resources for further writing and reading. She’ll also lead discussion based on participants’ particular concerns regarding their own writing.

“PSYCHE, CHARACTER, PLOT” with Becky McLaughlin (Academics Room)
Using the concept of the psyche for building character and generating plot, this workshop will show you how psychoanalytic concepts such as the mirror stage, object small a, repression, screen memory, fundamental fantasy, primal scene, desire, and the drive can help you create a psyche, out of which comes character and thus the conflict of plot. Even if a reader is never directly shown a character’s repressed material, a good writer knows that conscious action is the result of the workings of the unconscious, and thus every good writer must know what his or her characters are repressing. You might ponder, for example, how Doris Lessing’s Martha Quest was unconsciously shaped by her mother’s not-good-enough parenting skills or what the unconscious effects of arson were on William Faulkner’s Sarty Snopes or what drives Manley Pointer to steal Hulga’s artificial leg in Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People.”

10:00 am - 10:55 am.

What do Robert Browning, Patricia Smith, T.S. Eliot, Beyoncé, and the Beatles all have in common? They all have used persona at some point in their careers to expand their subjects, experiment with technique, and widen their range. At its basic definition, a persona is a character, distinguished from the poet, who is the speaker of a poem. That definition, though, hides the radical, imaginative power of personae. If done correctly, a persona can become its own being who breathes new life into your poetry. In this discussion, Creative Writing Director at University of South Alabama Charlotte Pence, will offer strategies for creating personae that differ from yourself in order to reinvigorate your poetry.


11:00 am - 11:55 am

A lot has changed recently — Create Space is no more — taken over by Kindle Direct Publishing as KDP. The Library of Congress has added to their requirements for a Cataloging-in-Publication requirements for an application. And the differences in Print-on-Demand publishers. Sue will explain how these changes affect writers and publishers. Participants will learn how to adapt to the changing market.

“NERVOUS NELLIES, PERVS, AND PSYCHOS” with Becky McLaughlin (Academics Room)
Want to write a twisted love story featuring two tortured neurotics, one a beautiful hysteric and the other a lonely obsessional? Intelligent erotica based on the perverse sexuality of the exhibitionist, the fetishist, or the voyeur? A psychologically informed horror story with a psychotic killer as your central character? In this workshop, you will learn what psychoanalysis has to say about the psychical structure of the neurotic, the pervert, and the psychotic (i.e., what makes them tick) so that your fictional characters will have the ring (not to say the tics!) of psychological authenticity.

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Introduction of The Misadventure of Tanko Mankie, a new play -- a behind-the-pen discussion by the playwright, C. Stefan Morrisette, and composer, Devon Morrisette. Hear, first hand, about the inspiration, writing process, and collaborative efforts that brought Tanko Mankie to life.

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

BRUNCH THEATRE: “The Misadventure of Tanko Mankie: A Parody of L. Frank Baum's American Fairy Tales” (Orange Beach Community Center)
The Misadventure of Tanko Mankie: a parody of L. Frank Baum's American Fairy Tales” written by Chase Morrisette with music by Devon Morrisette. $20 per person incl. brunch & ticket price. Members who have purchased full ticket to conference don’t need to purchase additional tickets.

AWC 2019 Registration

Please fill out the form below in a way that matches the tickets you’ve purchased for the event.

Pre-registration is encouraged and appreciated. If you have a personal, health, and/or travel emergency which prevents you from attending, we ask that you contact us in writing seven days prior to the on-site registration of the AWC conference. The best way to reach us is by email. We will not be able to grant refunds unless requested in writing on or before seven days prior to on-site registration. Thank you so much for helping us to honor our hardworking volunteers and staff. 

As an all-volunteer board, we prefer that you register and pay online. However, if you prefer to pay by check, please address your check to AWC and mail our Treasurer Hank Henley, 7296 Bayberry Road, Helena AL 35022.

After filling out the form, proceed to online ticket purchase and payment. When you have finished selecting your tickets, click on the shopping cart icon at the top right of the screen for your shopping cart and check-out.

Also don’t forget to register for a pitch session (see the top of the page for details).

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If you plan on purchasing tickets for the entire conference, please select Full Registration. If you are trying to purchase tickets for individual events, please select partial registration.
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After completing the registration form and selecting from tickets below, click on the shopping cart at the top right of the page to proceed with payment. PayPal will process your payment and then return you to this page. In order to make sure you’ve registered, please check your email for a receipt from PayPal (that is the best way to know for sure that everything went through).



Special thanks

We are so grateful to conference organizer and AWC Board Member, Jessica Jones, whose work in promoting and networking the Alabama literary community enriches our lives and landscape. Jessica Jones graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor’s in English in 2007, and a Master’s in Creative Writing in 2009. She published her first book of poetry and photography in 2009 and has published several poems was included in Whatever Remembers Us: An Anthology of Alabama Poetry. Her poetry awards include the Shelley Memorial Scholarship and contest awards by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Poets and Patrons Chicagoland and the Alabama State Poetry Society. In 2014, she formed Poetic Presence, a 501 (c)3 designed to promote poetry in the community and to share the experience of written word artists with rising poets and writers--including MerFaire, a sea-themed celebration of art and books held every first Sunday of May. She has served as the chair person for the Alabama Poet Laureate nominations board, newsletter editor for the Alabama Writers' Conclave, and event coordinator for the Alabama State Poetry Society. She now holds the position of Vice President and Program Chair for the Alabama Writers’ Conclave.