Virtual Literary Conference: Taking Care in Writing, Publishing & Building Community (Day 1)


As  COVID sweeps across the planet and through our lives, we continue to confront our vulnerabilities, both public and private. Hard truths about our nation are in sharp focus. How do we carve out purpose, chart a meaningful course, through troubling times that don’t seem to end?

Taking care of ourselves and others is one answer, and it can take many forms. Sometimes this means learning to dismantle oppressive systems and interrogate received ideas, as Mary-Frances Winters explores in Black Fatigue and Sejal Shah confronts in This Is One Way to Dance. Margaret Gibson inspires perspective with, “let the stones be read aloud, so that a human voice/might widen its reach, floating off among the stars like the ringing-through/of a great bronze bell like the audible layers of birdsong gradually moving west as dawn/brightens, or used to/and the great earth turns”

We hope you agree that engaging with and making art are transformational experiences that can offer solace, release, self-knowledge, and solidarity. It is in this spirit that you’re invited to join us for Taking Care in Writing, Publishing & Building Community. 

“We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared.”  ― Audre Lorde, Poetry is Not a Luxury

Early Bird Rate: $195 (valid through January 13) | January 14 – 23: $225
Need-based Scholarships Available
Pitch Sessions: $20/Each (ineligible for scholarships)

SUPPORT THE CONFERENCE Your $195 donation will pay for a scholarship. Your gift in any amount makes a difference!  

CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES. Email Laura Hamilton at [email protected]

Registrants will have access to recorded events for 90 days following the conference.



2:30 – 3:45 pm

Big House, Small House
What is the right size press for your manuscript? The “big five” (Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan) typically leverage book reviews in major publications and generate large initial orders from distributors and big box bookstores. But what advantages and relationships might smaller, mission-driven presses provide that the world of corporate publishing cannot? Is publishing with an independent or university press a stepping stone or a “marriage?” Do such imprints as Random House’s One World compete for the same market share as small and mid-size indies like Graywolf Press and Grove Atlantic? In this panel, industry experts explore the many sides of the Big House/Small House question. 
Panelists: Elizabeth DeMeo, Associate Editor, Tin House; Beena Kamlani, former Senior Editor, Penguin Group USA; Michael McGandy,  Senior Editor & Editorial Director, Three Hills, Cornell University Press
Moderator: Jeffrey Lependorf, Executive Director, The Flow Chart Foundation

4 pm

Alison Meyers, Executive Director, Writers & Books

4:15 – 5:30 pm

Opening Reading
Destiny O. BirdsongMeg KearneyAnn Marie MacariBrenda PeyandoTim SeiblesArisa White

6 – 7:15 pm

The Poet & Their Publisher, BOA Editions / Nightboat Books Showcase
Listen in as seasoned small press publishers and successful poets on their lists talk about the partnership required to bring a book to life – from manuscript, to acquisition, to editing, to publication, to marketing, to sales– to its ultimate destination: the reader. Panel includes brief readings.
Panelists: Stephen Motika, Director & Publisher; Nightboat BooksPeter Conners, Publisher & Executive Director, BOA Editions LtdRosamond KingDanni Quintos.
Moderator: Alison Meyers