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Georgia Highlands Writers Conference

March 11, 2023, 9:00-5:30

Registration Cost: Free to any student (GHC or other) with student ID or for GHC faculty and staff. $50 registration fee for all other guests.

Participants who cannot attend in-person may choose a virtual option. The virtual conference will highlight specific workshops and include the keynote speaker presentation. The film screening will not be available via the virtual option.

9:00-9:30 Welcome

  • Registration
  • Breakfast and Coffee
  • Vendor Tables
  • Book Sales

9:30-11:00 Morning Workshops

Session 1: Mayra Cuevas, YA

Author of the Target YA Book Club Selection Does My Body Offend You? and the YA Romance Salty, Bitter, Sweet, Mayra Cuevas will guide writers in creating realistic and relatable Young Adult fiction through an engaging and interactive workshop.

Session 2: Mario Chard, Poetry

During this workshop, author of Land of Fire and Georgia Writer of the Year in Poetry Mario Chard will help poets to hone their craft and improve their lyrical skills.

Session 3: Jared Sexton Yates, Memoir

Jared Sexton Yates, author of The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making, a runner-up for the Georgia Authors Association's Memoir of the Year, will guide readers in the art of creating their own works of memoir. 

Alternative: Writer Critique Sessions 

$50/session separate charge

A limited number of 15-minute critique sessions will be available. During these one-on-one sessions, writers will have the opportunity to work with a published writer to review either a work of poetry, a query letter, or the opening page of a short story.

11:00-11:30 Break

  • Vendor Tables
  • Book Sales
  • Signings

11:30-1:00 Lunch and Keynote Speaker: LeAnne Howe

LeAnne Howe is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She is the Eidson Distinguished Professor of American Literature in English at the University of Georgia and the author of novels, plays, poetry, and screenplays. Her work in film includes serving as the on-camera narrator for a 90-minute PBS documentary, Indian Country Diaries, Spiral of Fire,  and serving as co-producer and writer for the 56-minute Searching for Sequoyah, for which she and producer James M. Fortier won a Telly Award. 

Howe’s additiona awards include: the 2022 Richard Beale Davis Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to Southern Letters by The Society for the Study of Southern Literature, an American Book Award, Western Literature Association’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award; the inaugural 2014 MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures; and a 2012 United States Artists Ford Fellowship, among others. Her monograph, Savage Conversations (Coffee House Press, 2019), is the story of Mary Todd Lincoln and the Savage Indian ghost she claimed tortured her nightly in 1875 and was performed in NYC in September on Govenors Island. 

In August 2020 two books co-edited by Howe were released. A collaboration with Irish scholar Padraig Kirwan, Famine Pots: The Choctaw Irish Gift Exchange 1847-Present tells the story of the Choctaw gift that was sent to the Irish during the potato famine just after the tribe’s own land removal and the continued cross-cultural relationship through a series of essays and poems. When The Light of The World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, co-edited with U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Jennifer Elise Foerster, is a landmark collection of works by Native poets from across the decades and the span of the United States.  

1:00-1:30 Break

  • Vendor Tables
  • Book Sales
  • Signings

1:30-3:00 Afternoon Workshops

Session 1: Randi Sonenshine, Children's Books

Explore the world of writing children’s books with Randi Sonenshine, author of The Nest that Wren Built and The Lodge that Beaver Built.

Session 2: Tony Grooms, Fiction

Award-winning author of Bombingham, The Vain Conversation, Trouble No More, and the poetry collection Ice Poems, Tony Grooms will offer a workshop to help fiction writers improve their skills and techniques.

Session 3: Douglas Young, Humor

Come learn the fine art of writing humor with Dr. Douglas Young. The author of two novels and numerous essays, Young served as a political science professor at the University of North Georgia for over 33 years before becoming a full-time writer.

Session 4: Jennifer Dunn, Screenwriting

Discover both the theory of screenwriting as well as insights into the career aspects of screenwriting.

Alternative: Writer Critique Sessions

A limited number of 15-minute critique sessions will be available. During these one-on-one sessions, writers will have the opportunity to work with a published writer to review either a work of poetry, a query letter, or the opening page of a short story. 

3:00-3:30 Break

  • Vendor Tables
  • Signings

3:30-5:30 Film Screening and Conversation: Searching for Sequoyah with LeAnne Howe

Open to the Public for No Cost

From the film’s website: “Searching for Sequoyah is the first documentary feature to chronicle the legendary accomplishments and mysterious death of the famed Cherokee visionary, Sequoyah, whose English name was George Guess. While much is known about Sequoyah’s many accomplishments, very little is known about the man himself. The greatest mystery is not that he created the Cherokee writing system, or syllabary, but rather the details of his final journey to Mexico and the circumstances of his death. After removal from their southeast homelands separated some Cherokees as far as Mexico, Sequoyah set out late in life to reunite the Cherokee people in their new capitol, Tahlequah – Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). From Tuskegee, Tennessee to Zaragoza, Mexico – Searching for Sequoyah takes viewers on a journey retracing Sequoyah’s final quest, the mystery surrounding his death and the legacy he left behind.”  

Following the screening of the film, co-producer LeAnne Howe will discuss the movie with Georgia Highlands Chair of Film Seth Ingram.