Writers Association of Northern Appalachia 2021 Conference

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Writers Association of Northern Appalachia
contact email: 

The Writers Association of Northern Appalachia (WANA) invites proposals for presentations, workshops, and readings for our upcoming conference to be held September 10-12, 2021 at Oglebay Park and Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia. We welcome submissions from writers living in, from, or writing about the region of northern Appalachia. 


Who We Are

As the premier association for northern Appalachian writers, our mission is to support writers from, living in, or writing about the greater northern Appalachia region by providing opportunities to share work and expertise, publish written work, and develop relationships with editors, publishers, literary scholars, readers, and fellow writers. Our annual conference represents an opportunity for the region’s writers to continue to build a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community. 


What We’re Looking For

Participants will explore opportunities, challenges, and trends specific to Appalachian writers through keynote presentations, panel discussions, craft talks, a book fair, an artisan festival, and workshops led by contemporary northern Appalachian authors. In addition, the conference will offer writers a space to gather for inspiration, further education, support, and networking.


  • Your audience: Conference attendees will include authors ranging from novice poets to multi-published novelists; academics representing the humanities, literature, Appalachian studies, and more; educators; librarians; and individuals with an interest in northern Appalachian literature and culture.

  • WANA focuses on all aspects of northern Appalachian literature, including research, composition, literary craft, critical theory, creative collaboration, pedagogy, and publishing. 

  • Speakers should be dynamic and engaging.

Possible Session Topics 


CRAFT—FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY, SCRIPTWRITING: Practical instruction on the craft. Sessions might include approaches to character development, conflict and suspense, description and setting, dialogue, plot and structure, voice and viewpoint, storytelling and worldbuilding, researching and interviewing, voice and viewpoint, understanding story flow, using tension and suspense, understanding three-act structure, writing action and description, plot and subplot, dialogue, revision, and so much more. 


BUSINESS OF WRITING: Practical instruction on the business side of writing, including finding a literary agent or publisher, understanding self-publishing, pitching and selling a script, pitching for freelance opportunities, negotiating contracts and fair rates, entering literary competitions, promotion and marketing strategies, and identifying publishing challenges faced by northern Appalachian writers. 


SCHOLARSHIP: Research and reflection that works toward defining and understanding the northern Appalachian region and identifying characteristics and themes of its literature and other cultural artifacts, including films, TV shows, advertisements, and others. 


WORKSHOPS: Interactive, experiential sessions that help writers generate ideas, get motivated, work through tricky spots in their writing, and so much more. 


READINGS: Panel sessions that spotlight material from new and emerging northern Appalachian writers.  


SURPRISE US: We’re always looking for unique approaches to traditional topics, as well as new and interesting issues of interest to writers from northern Appalachia and beyond. 


Session Formats
Sessions will be 45 minutes long and may employ a variety of formats, including panel and roundtable discussions, readings, or generative workshops. We encourage both group and  individual submissions. Participants can present only once during the conference.


  • Presentations can be offered by a single individual with subject matter expertise on a particular topic such as an aspect of writing craft, the business of writing, or an inquiry into some aspect of northern Appalachian culture.

  • Panels allow a variety of perspectives on a particular topic or theme. They should consist of a minimum of three (3) and maximum of five (5) persons, including the moderator. One of the panelists may also serve as the moderator. Panel proposals should identify the moderator, and all panelists must be listed on the proposal. 

  • Workshops should be interactive and allow participants to engage with a specific topic or skill.

  • Roundtables are hosted by one or two leaders with expertise to lead open, interactive discussions on a specific subject.

AV Requests and Handouts

If your program will require AV (projector, screen, clicker), please indicate this on the proposal submission form. Due to production costs and space limitations, sessions/slots with AV may be limited. For that reason, please explain how you intend to use AV for your session and why it’s imperative.

Handouts are the responsibility of the presenter. 

Presenter Registration

Presenters are conference attendees who volunteer to take an hour from their conference time to share their expertise and knowledge on a particular topic with fellow attendees. All presenters agree to register for the conference (at a 50% discount) by the published deadline. Registration includes membership in the Writers Association of Northern Appalachia (WANA). Presenters must make and pay for their own accommodations and travel arrangements. 

Contingency Plan
Should the pandemic force us to hold the conference virtually again this year, we will notify presenters and registered attendees as soon as possible of our alternative arrangements.

To submit a proposal, please use the Proposal Submission Form on the conference website: writersassociationofnorthernappalachia.org. Proposals will be accepted between February 5, 2021 and April 15, 2021.  

You will need to submit the following information: 

  • a title that adequately describes your presentation 

  • a 300-word abstract that explains your proposed presentation 

  • a bio for each presenter