May 22, 2018

In This Issue:

Featured A&E Conference Speakers; Summer Writing Retreat; Upcoming Online Classes; Member News; & More

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Meet our 2018 Conference Featured Speakers!
A Letter from Program Director Michael Noll

If you're an anxious person (and even if you're not), the path to publication is a fraught one. As you finish your final revision, you wonder if anyone will like your book. Then, as you query and pitch agents, you wonder if anyone will like your book. When your agent is submitting to editors, you wonder again; and when the book is about to hit the shelves, you wonder; and when the initial flurry of events dies down, you wonder if anyone will remember your book. Then, you have to start all over again. In the midst of so much wondering, it's easy to wonder why on earth you've chosen to write books at all. 

And that's why I love the keynote speeches at the Agents & Editors Conference. Two years ago at the Keynote Luncheon, Benjamin Saenz had everyone in the room wiping at their eyes. Last year, Ken Liu had everyone laughing and groaning at his real-life publishing victories and defeats. This year, we will hear from Alexander Chee, whose 2016 novel  The Queen of the Night  went through multiple printings as it rose up the bestseller charts. He even appeared on  Late Night with Seth Myers . His essay collection  How to Write an Autobiographical Novel  is out now, and it's wonderful. In fact, it might be the best essay collection you read this year (and I say that knowing that there are a lot of fantastic essay collections being published right now). It's both a memoir and a book about the craft of writing and life of a writer. In the midst of a conference focused on publishing, this book and author are the perfect combination to remind us why we chose this path for ourselves.

For our keynote reception, we will welcome Melissa Radke, an East Texas vlogger whose Facebook videos about parenting have been viewed millions of times. (And not just a few million; like 50 million.) She's hilarious, and we are thrilled to be offering our conference attendees a sneak peak of her debut memoir  Eat Cake. Be Brave . It won't be published until two weeks after the conference, so the version you'll receive will be a special edition advance copy. When her book gets talked about all over (which is likely), you can say you read it before anyone else.

Finally, the conference's Saturday programming will kick off with a conversation between Writers' League Executive Director Becka Oliver and Beth deGuzman, Vice President of Grand Central Publishing. If you've ever read a James Patterson or Michael Connelly novel, you've got her to thank. 

We can't wait to see you at the conference!

--Michael Noll
Program Director

Join Us For an Evening of Literary Shenanigans!

One Page Salon
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
7:30 p.m.
502 Brushy St., Austin, Texas 78702

One of Austin's most beloved reading series - One Page Salon - is teaming up with the Writers' League of Texas for a special evening of quick readings, slow drinking, and lots of literary shenanigans. 

One Page Salon (called "the best literary evening in town" by the Austin American-Statesman) is the brainchild of novelist, screenwriter, and comedian Owen Egerton. During the course of the evening, five writers will read a single page from a work in progress (goodbye, literary readings that go on and on and on) and answer three questions from the hosts (hello, witty banter with Writers' League staff). Midway through, there's a break for eating (Pueblo Viejo, located inside The North Door, has great tacos!), drinking (coffee, beer, Topo), and talking (this. is. the. best. part.).

One person from the audience will have the opportunity to read one page of their work. If you're interested, bring the page and put your name on the list once you arrive.

Come for the tacos and beer, stay for the sneak peek at some terrific writings-in-progress from our featured writers: Meg Gardiner, Charlotte Gullick, Chaitali Sen, and Christina Soontornvat.

Better Novel Beginnings Through Character Development       
with Greg Garrett  
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CST  
Are you starting a novel and worried about getting off on the wrong foot?

This class will focus on how to imagine your character's yearnings and foreshadow future events so that your beginning can engage your readers and prepare them for what is to come. Participants will learn how to build a character with a need to change and exercises for introducing plot and complications at the beginning of a novel.
Registration closes Wednesday, May 23, at 5 p.m. CST. Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording until June 1. 

How to Submit to Journals     
with Stacey Swann   
Thursday, May 31, 2018 
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CST  
Want to send your short story, poem, or creative nonfiction out for publication but aren't sure where or how?

Creative writing springs from both art and craft. However, finding a good home for your stories, essays, and poems takes a significant amount of effort of a different sort. This class course will walk you through the essential steps of submitting to journals and magazines. If you're ready to send your work out into the world, this class will help you arrive at that elusive understanding: what editors really value and expect. 

Take this class if you are writing short stories, poems, or literary creative nonfiction.  
Registration closes Thursday, May 31, at 5 p.m. CST. Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording until June 8. 

Are You Ready to Change Your Writing Life? Attend the 2018 Summer Writing Retreat!
Registration Now OPEN TO ALL.

Ever want to step away from life's distractions, focus on your craft, and get inspired? Here's your chance.  This year's retreat will take place in beautiful, historic Nacogdoches, TX.

Not sure which class to take? Do you...

...have a great idea for a novel or short story but aren't sure how to dive in?

Stacey Swann's class,  "The Fiction Hatchery: Moving Ideas to the Page Through Characterization, Plot, Setting, and Theme,"  is for you! This week-long version of one of our most popular classes  will give you the skills and confidence to jump in head first.  Find out more and sign up here .

...want to write a winning nonfiction essay?

Rachel Starnes' class  will explore personal, lyric, and traditional longform essays with an eye towards exploring the depth and versatility of the form. Past students of Rachel's say she's a "wonderful" and "generous" instructor and we're so thrilled to have her out our retreat for the first time!  Find out more and sign up here.

...want to learn how to write poetry from an acclaimed poet?

Open up surprising doors of possiblity for how to craft your work with Christine Butterworth-McDermott. Whether you are new to writing poems or an experienced poet, this course will help you draft poems that are both "pleases" and "thank yous" to yourself, others, and the world. We're so thrilled to welcome Christine to our retreat this year! 
Find out more and sign up here.

...learn the art of memoir writing from two of our most popular instructors? 

This workshop aims to help writers reflect on their own experience in the light of their explorations of other sources, adding nuance and depth to their narratives. " Donna and Kirk make a great team. I learned so much, not only about the art of writing memoir, but about writing in general," says a past retreat attendee.  Find out more and sign up here.

You can find more information about the week and hotel accommodations   here  on our website.   Hope to see you this summer!
Questions? Email us at or call 512-499-8914. 

Attention Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Writers!

Austin's convention for science fiction and fantasy writers, Armadillo Con, will be held  August 3-5Friday of the conference features a writers' workshop with small, intimate workshops led by more than a dozen instructors. To apply, send a submission of up to 5,000 words by  June 15. There are scholarships for writers of color. More information here.

Member News

Awards & Honors
Anne Keene's (Austin) book The Cloudbuster Nine has been chosen by the Austin American-Statesman for their monthly  Statesman Selects. BookPeople will host an event with Keene on  May 25, 7 p.m. More details here.

Events & Classes
Len Bourland (Dallas) is an author and columnist and will be offering her popular course on "How to publish quickly, economically, and professionally to get in bookstores" in June at SMU. For more info and registration, click here.

Interested in having your news listed here? Current Writers' League members can submit their news to Announcements should adhere to the following guidelines: third-person, starting with your first and last name, followed by your city of residence, maximum 50 words. We may edit your announcement for style and clarity.

Writer Classifieds 
Looking for a writing group or critique partner? Look no further than our Writer Classifieds. Current Writers' League members can submit their name, contact information, and additional details to be included as a listing on a private page on our website. 

Coming Up @ WLT
Classes, Free Programs, Deadlines, and Other Events Across the State

      Registration closes Wednesday, May 23, at 5 p.m. CST.  
      All registrants will have access to the class recording until June 1.  

May 31
"How to Submit to Journals" with Stacey Swann
Online Class
Registration closes Thursday, May 31, at 5 p.m. CST.  
All registrants will have access to the class recording until June 8.
June 2
"The Craft + Business of Writing: Nacogdoches Edition"
      Nacogdoches Public Library, Nacogdoches, TX  
June 5
      The North Door, Austin, TX  

June 7
"The Craft + Business of Writing: San Antonio Edition"
      St Andrews Methodist Church, San Antonio, TX  
June 6 
"Pacing the Plot of Your Novel or Short Story" with John Pipkin
      Online Class

June 20
"Crafting Prose for Memoirs that Brings Your Memories to Life" with Katherine Catmull
      Online Class

June 29-July 1 

The 25th Annual Agents & Editors Conference
      Hyatt Regency, Austin, TX

July 29-August 3 
Summer Writing Retreat
      Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX 

August 8 
"How to Conceive and Structure Personal Essays" with Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
      Online Class

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.  Visit Austin at

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to .  

This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities,