Wondering if there is an easy way to network with other writers, editors, and agents? Attending a writing conference is the perfect way to hone your craft while building bonds with important literary professionals in the industry.
Here’s our list of the top 20 writing conferences you should attend in 2017 and 2018.

1. Sewanee Writers’ Conference

When: July each year.

Where: Sewanee, TN

This conference provides a workshop-focused atmosphere that lasts much longer than average. It focuses on poetry, fiction, and playwright, utilizing a prestigious faculty to lead workshops and criticisms. This year’s faculty includes Jill McCorkle, Charles Martin, and A.E. Stallings. Writers, critics, and agents will visit throughout your time at Sewanee as well. Every participant is only required to pay one third of their tuition, and additional funding is provided based on merit. Everyone attending the conference lives in the dormitories provided. Although this year’s application period has ended, the 2018 application’s deadline should be next April.

Find more information about this conference here.

2. AWP Conference

When: March 7-10, 2018

Where: Tampa, FL

The AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference hosts over 12,000 attendees over four days. The annual conference includes not only 2,000 presenters, including George Saunders, but also 550 panels, readings, and craft lectures. It is no surprise that this conference is the largest of its kind in North America. If you can’t make it to Florida next yea, future conferences will be held in Oregon, Texas, and Missouri.

Find more information about this conference here.

3. The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

When: August 16-26, 2017

Where: Ripton, VT

This ten day conference was founded in 1926 and includes many notable writers, comprised of Poet Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur Fellows. Small group workshops, readings, and panels are all included. There will be 20 different workshops, each hosting 10 writers. Additionally, financial aid is dispersed based on talent and merit. This year’s faculty includes Ann Hood, David Shields, Sally Keith, and Robert Cohen, among many, many others. There will also be a variety editors and agents present. Bread Loaf has many different programs as well, including an environmental writers’ conference and a conference in Sicily. The application period for this year’s conference has closed, but keep an eye out for next year’s; it should open in November.

Find more information on this conference here.

4. Literary Writers Conference

When: December 7-8, 2017

Where: New York City, NY

This conference is centered around building author-editor relationships. Much of the content of the Literary Writers Conference focuses on how to get published and how to foster lasting relationships with the publishers in the field. Registration for the event is capped at 100 participants, ensuring a more intimate atmosphere and guaranteeing valuable conversations and connections.

Find more information on the Literary Writers Conference here.

5. Writer’s Digest Conference

When: August 18-20, 2017

Where: New York City, NY

The Writer’s Digest Conference includes many different resources for writers, such as platform building seminars, publishing seminars, craft workshops, and information on how to be an author. This conference is designed to help you build your network and become a success. Keynote speakers include Lisa Scottoline, Richard Russo, and David Levithan, each of which will be hosting book signings. This conference also hosts a pitch slam with a variety of agents with different tastes.

Find more information on this conference here.

6. San Miguel Writers’ Conference

When: February 14-18, 2018

Where: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

This conference boasts to be the largest co-cultural and bilingual gathering in the Americas. Every year, there are 750 workshop attendees, as well as over 10,000 seats filled to observe panels, speakers, and seminars. Keynote speakers in the past have included Alice Walker, Joyce Carol Oates, and Barbara Kingsolver.  The location itself was proclaimed the #1 City in the World by Conde Naste Traveler in 2014.

Find more information on the San Miguel Writers’ Conference here.

7. The 13th Annual Northern Colorado Writers Conference

When: May 4-5, 2018

Where: Fort Collins, CO

This annual conference includes a variety of speakers, panels, sessions, and networking opportunities. Agents and editors, as well as writers, will be in attendance. Pitch sessions, an exciting way to potentially earn a book deal, will also be included in the festivities. Last year, there were over 100 attendees, and featured authors included Linda White, Tina Forkner, and Joanne Kennedy, among many others.

Find more information about this conference here.

8. San Francisco Writers Conference

When: February 15-18, 2018

Where: San Francisco, CA

This four day event encompasses 100+ sessions, varying from the business side of writing to the creative side. The conference also focuses heavily on networking, including Speed Dating for Agents, and includes a gala, as well as Open Mic readings. According to their website, San Francisco Writers Conference focuses heavily on professionalism.

Find more information on the San Francisco Writers Conference here.

9. Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise

When: Each year around February or March.

Where: Departs from Miami, FL.

Although the dates for this year have already passed, the Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise will be coming back next year. Hosted by the Seymour Agency, this cruise moves from Miami, FL, to Nassau, Bahamas, and on to Cozumel, Mexico. The conference promises one-on-one time with agents and editors, as well as published authors, for five nights. This conference is not limited to literary works, either; it also embraces screenplay for television and film.

Find more information on this conference here.

10.  The London Book Fair

When: April 10-12, 2018

Where: Olympia, London, UK

With over 25,000 attendees, the London Book Fair is a great way to network in the publishing industry. There are over 200 free seminars to attend, varying on topics from indie publishing to picture books. There are over 1,591 exhibitors from over 60 countries. Authors, editors, and agents from all over the world attend, making this conference a must.

Find more information about this conference here.

11. The Vancouver International Writers and Readers Fest

When: October 16-22, 2017

Where: Vancouver, Canada

The Vancouver International Writers and Readers Fest is a week long conference that provides a lot of opportunities for writers. The conference focuses on international, local, new, and lauded books of all kinds. There will be over 100 authors and over 90 events over the course of the week. The official authors and events for 2017 will be released in mid-August, so keep an eye out for updates.

Find more information about this conference here.

12. Las Vegas Writer’s Conference

When: April 19-21, 2018

Where: Las Vegas, NV

Hosted by the Henderson Writers’ Group, the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference provides great networking opportunities. The faculty is available to socialize with attendees, and there are pitch sessions with publishers and agents available during the conference. Past keynote speakers include Donald Maass, Larry Brooks, and Judith Briles. In addition to the conference, you can sign up for a full-day workshop on August 22nd with Jane Friedman.

Find more information on the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference here.

13. UNM Summer Writers’ Conference

When: April each year.

Where: Albuquerque, NM

At this annual conference, New York City’s editors and agents pair up with authors and teachers to discuss trends in publishing. Workshops, pitch sessions, and other perks are offered as well. Past speakers have included Leila Meacham, Micheal McGarrity, and Maxim Brown. The conference highlights a number of genres, including fiction, poetry, and children’s writing. While this year’s date may have passed, it will be offered again in 2018.

Find more information about the UNM Summer Writers’ Conference here.

14. Kentucky Women Writers’ Conference

When: September 15-16, 2017

Where: Lexington, KY

While this may be the Kentucky Women Writers’ Conference, almost half of its attendees are from out-of-state and men are welcome to attend. Only women writers are featured, however. The conference features readings, panels, publishing advice, and craft-talks, all of which are open to both writers and editors. Featured guests include Natalie Diaz, Camille Dungy, and Olivia Gatwood.

Find more information on this conference here.

15. Surrey International Writer’s Conference

When: October 19-22, 2017

Where: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

This conference is held annually every October in Canada. Writers, from beginners to experts, are welcome to participate in over 80 panels, workshops, and night events. There are many editors, agents, and other publishing professionals in attendance, offering pitch sessions in addition to networking. Your work can be reviewed by industry professionals at the conference’s Blue Pencil Cafe. Attendees include Juliet Blackwell, Elizabeth Boyle, and Anne Perry.

Find more information about this conference here.

16. Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop

When: Multiple dates.

Where: Gambier, OH

This conference provides a creative, intensive, and supportive atmosphere. It includes writing workshops led by a variety of instructors for serious writers. Unlike other conferences, Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop runs during a variety of different dates and with different focuses, so check out their website to pick the program that best suites you. These programs include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and nature writing, as well as a specific program for teachers. Faculty includes Lee K. Abbott, David Baker, and Erick Gordon.

Find more information on this conference here.

17. Napa Valley Writer’s Conference

When: July 23-28, 2017

Where: Napa Valley, CA

This conference is unique in that it is open to the public, offering readings and lectures. There is also a free community class. Craft lectures are available for an additional charge. This conference specifically focuses on craft and talent instead of publishing and business, and it maintains a small group, intimate atmosphere. Faculty includes Eavan Boland, Jane Hirshfield, and Peter Ho Davies, among many others.

Find more information about the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference here.

18. Chicago Writing Workshop

When: June each year.

Where: Chicago, IL

The Chicago Writing Workshop is a one-day, intensive experience. It focuses on how to get published while also offering opportunities for you to pitch your manuscript. They limit the conference to 250 total attendees. This event has happened multiple years in a row, so look out for its comeback in 2018.

Find more information about this conference here.

19. Santa Barbara Writers Conference

When: June each year.

Where: Santa Barbara, CA

This annual, five-day conference includes one-on-one manuscript consultations, panels, pitch sessions, and more. Keynote speakers in the past included Fannie Flagg, Angela Rinaldi, and David Brin. You can see these speakers without registering for the entire conference, paying an entry fee at the door. There are 30 workshops offered on a variety of topics, from fiction to marketing. While this conference may have passed, it has been held since 1972, and we look forward to its return in 2018.

Find more information about the Santa Barbra Writers Conference here.

20. Yale Writers’ Conference

When: June 2018

Where: Yale University, New Haven, CT

The Yale Writers’ Conference offers workshops and panels for writers all over the world. It brings together editors, publishers, authors, and agents. They offer two sessions every year for only serious writers. Workshops are limited to 10-12 participants, keeping an intimate writing atmosphere. Applications for 2018 open in January.

Find more information on this conference here.

Hannah Messinger

Hannah Messinger

Assistant Editor & Poetry Reader at NY Literary Magazine
Hannah Messinger is studying English Literature with a minor in Art History at Florida State University.
She has always been an avid reader, writing and reading poetry since she was six years old.
She hopes to eventually earn a doctorate degree in literature or writing and will be graduating a year early in order to do so. She is the Managing Editor of FSU Her Campus, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, and a member of Delta Zeta.
Hannah Messinger