Fredericksburg Writers Conference

“We put together this conference to help talented writers find an audience and a publisher for their works.”

-Mara Fox

The Fredericksburg Writers Conference, coming up next week – Friday and Saturday, November 2 & 3, at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg, Texas – offers two days of programming for writers in the area who are ready to explore their publishing options. If you’re wondering what the event has in store, here are some highlights from a conversation with Robert Demming and Mara Fox, facilitated by WLT board member (and Fredericksburg-based writer) Marc Hess.

WLT: First things first, what made you decide to host this conference?

Mara Fox: You, as a writer, have choices on how to turn your finished manuscript into a successfully published book. We put together this conference to help talented writers in Fredericksburg find an audience and a publisher for their works. If you are pursuing a route into traditional big-house publishing, you’ll be able to pitch your work to an established literary agent. Or you can learn the tricks that will make your self-published book successful. You can learn from both and choose the path that works best for your story.

WLT: This sounds great. Who will be coming to the event?

Robert Demming: A big problem you face as a writer is finding someone to publish your work. And, like Mara said, there are many directions you can go. To help you choose the path that’s right for you we’re bringing in Jeannie Loiacono, of Loiacono Literary Agency. She is a talented literary agent who specializes in helping first-time authors. You will be able to talk to her directly about the book you are working to get published.

MF: For those of you considering self-publishing we have speaker Eva Pohler, PhD, former professor at UTSA, self-published author, sharing her expertise on “The Road to Successful Self-Publishing.”

RD: Eva is also delivering a keynote address titled “Shameless Self-Promotion.”

WLT: Oh, that should be good. I’ve got to catch that one.

MF: We also have Tom Hutton, MD, award winning author of Carrying the Black Bag,  leading a session on “The Road to Publication at a University Press.”

RD: And the Cooks; newspaper publisher Ken Cook will be here with his wife, author Christina Granados, discussing “Writing for Newspapers and Magazines.”

WLT: That is a big day. And who is the audience that you would like to attract?

MF: Simply said: anybody who is writing anything.

For more specific information and to register go to or contact Sally Clark  Follow the conference on Facebook at

Thank you to Marc, Mara, and Robert!


Interview with Fran Sanders of Public Poetry + A Special Discount for WLT Members!

“For 16 years, Poetry at Round Top has been a very special gathering place to hear some of the country’s best poets in an absolutely gorgeous location.”

-Fran Sanders

We’re such big fans of Public Poetry, a Houston-based nonprofit whose mission is to expose people to good poetry and to promote this art form by taking poetry public. They host frequent collaborative programs and projects that put hundreds of poets in front of thousands of people at libraries, museums, music venues, and more.

Their upcoming event “Poetry Ride to Round Top” is a great opportunity for aspiring poets to learn while making the trip from Houston to the Round Top Poetry Festival. We talked with Public Poetry’s Executive Director Fran Sanders about the event. Details about how WLT members can get a special discount are in the interview below!

Scribe: What is the Poetry Ride to Round Top?

Fran Sanders: The Poetry Ride to Round Top includes travel on a round-trip luxury coach ride to the Round Top Poetry Festival, Saturday, April 21, 2018, as  well as admission to the Festival. During the ride to the Festival, Houston Poet Laureate Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton will be doing a workshop exclusively for us. The coach will leave Houston at 9:15 a.m. and be back in Houston around 10:15 p.m.

Scribe: Tell us a little about the Round Top Poetry Festival.

FS: The Austin Chronicle calls this Festival a “paradise for poets!” Its unique 200-acre campus contains major performance facilities, historic houses and architectural restorations, extensive gardens, parks, and nature preserves, and a wide collection of rare books and manuscripts.

Scribe: What’s included in a ticket to the Poetry Ride?

FS: Your ticket includes:

  • Saturday-Only Festival Registration ($75 value if purchased individually), including all festival events. This year’s festival poets include Coleman Barks, Scott Brownlee, Carrie Fountain, Kurt Heinzelman, Tomás Q. Morín, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Naomi Shihab Nye, Emmy Pérez, Laura Van Prooyen, Roger Reeves, Liz Garton Scanlon, and Javier Zamora
  • Travel to and from the festival
  • Our exclusive Rolling Poetry workshop on the bus with Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton
  • Catered box lunch
  • And more!

Find the full list of what’s included here.

Scribe: Tell us a little about, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, Houston’s Poet Laureate.

FS: Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is a poet, educator and coach. Formerly ranked the #2 Best Female Poet in the World, D.E.E.P. has established herself as a notable force in the Performance and Slam Poetry World. She has been featured on BBC, NPR, Upworthy, Blavity, Button Poetry, Write About Now, and the opening video of the 2017-2018 Houston Rockets Season. D.E.E.P. was featured at Public Poetry’s inaugural reading in 2011.

Scribe: How can WLT members take advantage of discounted pricing?   

FS: WLT members can get a special discount of $25 off the regular price when they register HERE before April 1, 2018. After April 1, 2018 the price increases by $10, with a 13% discount for WLT members on the total cost. After you register, you will be sent a confirmation letter from Public Poetry with further details.

Thanks, Fran!

Find more details about the Poetry Ride to Round Top here.

Find more details about Public Poetry here.

Celebrating Texas Independents: The Twig Book Shop in San Antonio


In conjunction with Texas Independence Day, we’re partnering with some of the state’s greatest Independents to host a series of free and open events across the state throughout the month of March. These panel discussions will focus on the great opportunities for writers and readers that Texas has to offer, from independent presses, to journals, to bookstores, and beyond, while also answering writers’ burning questions about the publishing process, submitting to presses and journals, catching the eye of an editor, and more.

Last night, we had such a great time at our panel discussion in San Antonio at The Twig Book Shop. We interviewed General Manager Claudia Maceo and Events Coordinator Nancy Gebhardt to learn more about this fantastic independent bookstore and the San Antonio literary community.

Can you share a few thoughts with us about the Texas literary landscape? What makes it unique, and what opportunities can be found here for writers, readers, and publishers?

Claudia Maceo: In San Antonio, Gemini Ink is our literary organization that brings in locally and nationally known writing talent to teach classes for developing writers. Publishers like Wings Press and Trinity University Press provide opportunities for authors of all genres, many of whom are writing about our diverse Texas region. The Twig Book Shop is a destination for locals and visitors alike who have regional interests, from children’s books to Texas history, from fiction to poetry.

Scribe: What do you see as the role of independents (publishers, journals, booksellers) in Texas’s literary community, and what do you find most rewarding about the work you do as an independent publisher?

CM: While we certainly provide the best of new traditionally published books, we also have tried to develop an eye for the lesser-known talents, the smaller print runs, and topics that might not be of interest in other markets. It is our genuine joy and pleasure to introduce our selection to the curious, open-minded reader. Hearing someone admire the selection is immensely affirming. One thing that distinguishes us as independent booksellers is our knowledge of books and our ability to articulate that knowledge.

Scribe: Tell us a bit about one of your upcoming programs, events, or publications that you feel exemplifies the spirit of being independent in Texas.

Nancy Gebhardt: At The Twig we enjoy promoting our local authors with author appearances, book signings, and readings. Our events give both new and experienced authors a chance to get their names out, meet the community, and talk about their writing process. We feature a wide variety of authors and genres with fascinating stories and ideas, all right here in South Texas! Our calendar is full of fun things to do, see, and experience.

Thanks, Claudia and Nancy!

Visit our website for additional cities and dates throughout the month of March.

March 6 panel at the Twig with moderator Becka Oliver and panelists Kelly Grey Carlisle, Tom Payton, Will Evans, and Bryce Milligan


Are you a Texas independent (publisher, journal, bookstore, etc.) interested in participating in future event and/or learning about other opportunities for partnership and promotion? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at

Hey Texans, Let’s Read Diverse Books!

“To read stories and hear voices that represent all the richness of the human experience is simply a matter of seeing our world truthfully, seeing our truths in it, and having others see them, too.”

—Natalia Sylvester

Every year, the Texas Book Festival (Nov 5-6, 2016—this weekend!) brings more than 40,000 book lovers of all ages to the State Capitol grounds in Austin for a full weekend of programming with over 250 authors, including author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, cooking demonstrations, live music, local food, YA authors, children’s activities, and exhibiting vendors from across the state.

Since the Festival‘s beginnings, the Writers’ League of Texas has participated as an exhibitor. Each year we look forward to this wonderful opportunity to support Texas authors and meet members, readers, and writers from across the state and nation. At our booth, visitors can meet our staff and volunteers, learn about membership, raise a glass to toast our book award honorees, and buy books from members who are signing their books (view the signing schedule here).

This year, we wanted to do a little something extra to highlight the diversity of Texas authors and their work. In partnership with Austin SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), we’re having a special diversity-focused book signing and giveaway at 4 pm on Saturday. Drop by to meet three incredible Texas authors — Chris Barton, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Natalia Sylvester — and get a free signed copy of one of their books while supplies last.

We interviewed these three authors about the importance of diversity in literature and events like the Texas Book Festival.

Scribe: Why is it important for readers—regardless of their age—to read about diverse characters and their experiences?

Chris Barton: The more that we read stories unlike our own, and the more that we learn about people whose experiences have been fundamentally different in some significant way from the lives we’ve lived, the less likely we are to see ourselves as the norm, the default. That opens us up to new information, new points of view, new arguments, new hopes, new dreams, new ideas. And that’s how we grow as individuals and move forward as a society.

Cynthia Leitich Smith: Anyone can be a hero that everybody cheers! We all need to see ourselves reflected in the pages of books, and our society is dependent on the empathy that diverse characters can foster. But beyond that, we need diverse characters and stories because they’re entertaining, informative, and inspirational. They grow us as people. And many of the best writers are from diverse communities, offering insider insights through fiction (and nonfiction) that illuminate us all.

Natalia Sylvester: There are so many reasons, but for me what it essentially boils down to is this: We exist, we are part of this world, too, and all we’re asking for is to not be erased. To read stories and hear voices that represent all the richness of the human experience is simply a matter of seeing our world truthfully, seeing our truths in it, and having others see them, too.

Scribe: What do you love most about the Texas Book Festival?

CB: I love the sense of optimism I always have by the end of the weekend. Nothing makes me more hopeful about the future of our state than two days spent among a multitude of Texans seeking out and celebrating and getting inspired by the written word.

CLS: Honestly, I love that we started the entire book festival movement. I love that when it came to connecting books to readers through community, the Texas Book Festival was the groundbreaker. The leader. I feel about it the way a lot of Texans felt when—in a journey spanning from the dawn of time to humanity’s trek in the stars—the first word spoken from outer space was “Houston.”

NS: I love getting to know the authors behind each book. As readers, we fall in love with an author’s words and ideas, but we don’t often get to see who they are, off the page. Hearing them speak about their work, their influences, and their processes is fascinating to me, as both a writer and a reader.

Scribe: We love giving book recommendations at the Writers’ League! What is one diversity-related book that you’d recommend? Bonus points if it’s Texas-related!

CB: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by former (and future, I hope) Texas Book Festival author Isabel Wilkerson. It’s a diversity-related book in the sense that if your family did not participate in that migration of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the rest of the United States, you’re going to learn a lot about a foundational shift in the histories of millions of American families — families whose experiences were possibly extremely different from your own. As for the Texas connection, when reading about that latter journey, I was stunned to realize that Jim Crow extended all the way out to El Paso. I had never considered far West Texas to be part of the South, but in that sense, it certainly was — and this was just one of the many ways in which Wilkerson’s book was an eye-opener for me.

CLS: Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, a novel mining the struggle between Tejanos and white Texans during the Mexican Revolution. Informative, gripping, and empowering—a must-read for every Texan.

NS: It might feel like an obvious pick, but for good reason: Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands should be read by everyone, especially Texans. If we’re ever to truly understand our history and our present, we need to see it from all sides and perspectives. Anzaldua challenges the notion that there are two sides to everything and a border between them. Our world is far more complex, and only when we’re able to see past the invisible borders we put up do we begin to truly embrace one another and coexist.

chris-bartonChris Barton‘s most recent books for young readers include THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH (currently on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List), WHOOSH!, and 88 INSTRUMENTS. He’s also the author of THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS (winner, Sibert Honor) and SHARK VS. TRAIN (a New York Times bestseller). You can visit him at

clsCynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and PublishersWeekly best-selling YA author of the TANTALIZE series and FERAL series. Her award-winning books for younger children include JINGLE DANCER, INDIAN SHOES, and RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME. She is also well published in children’s-YA short fiction and nonfiction. Her website at was named one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet by Writer’s Digest and an ALA Great Website for Kids. Her Cynsations blog at was listed as among the top two read by the children’s/YA publishing community in the SCBWI “To Market” column.

natalia sylvesterBorn in Lima, Peru, Natalia Sylvester came to the U.S. at age four. As a child she spent time in South Florida, Central Florida, and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas before her family set roots once again in Miami. In 2006, Natalia received a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Miami. A former magazine editor, Natalia now works as a freelance writer in Austin, Texas and is a faculty member of the low-res MFA program at Regis University. Her articles have appeared in Latina Magazine, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and CHASING THE SUN is her first novel. It was named the Best Debut Book of 2014 by Latinidad, and was chosen as a Book of the Month by the National Latino Book Club. Her second novel, EVERYONE CARRIES THEIR OWN WATER, is forthcoming from Little A in 2018.

Thanks, everyone! See you at the Festival!

An Interview with Writespace

“It’s amazing to consider that on August 20, people will form writing friendships that could change their lives and literary careers forever. When you take a moment to realize the power and beauty of this fact, you touch the core of why we are working so hard to bring the Writers Family Reunion and all our events into being.”

–Elizabeth White-Olsen, Founder & Director, Writespace

Writespace LogoHere at the Writers’ League of Texas, we love to highlight other literary organizations throughout the state that are doing great work. On Saturday, August 20, Writespace, located in Houston, Texas, is hosting their first Writers’ Family reunion. Writers’ League members can sign up for the event at a reduced rate. Read the interview below for more details on Writespace, the event, and how to receive your WLT member discount.

Scribe: Tell us about Writespace and the kinds of programming you offer.

152.2Elizabeth White-Olsen: Writespace is Houston’s new writing center. We are a new grassroots literary arts organization whose programming is run mainly by a tremendous volunteer effort. We are this uprising of literary passion that has blossomed in the heart of the city. People say it’s amazing how much we are doing, but we can’t seem to keep ourselves down. To this end, we offer writing workshops, write-ins, manuscript consultations, readings, and open mics to writers of all ages, backgrounds, experience levels, and genres.

Scribe: At the Writers’ League, we love learning about thriving literary communities throughout Texas. What are some of your favorite aspects of the Houston literary community?

EWO: My favorite aspect of the Houston literary community is our diversity. I love that you can go to a Public Poetry reading and hear someone read a highly refined, quiet poem about a seashell and then hear a slam poet share a poem about overcoming abuse at high volume a few minutes afterward. Houston is diverse, and its literary culture reflects our diversity.

Scribe: Writespace is hosting an event called “Writers Family Reunion” on August 20. Can you tell us more about where the idea for this event came from?

Write-In5 (2)EWO: In early spring we host a large literary festival that has a national focus—Writefest. We had such a blast hosting Writefest that we wanted to host another large event, but one quite different. Whereas Writefest is designed to draw both local and distant writers, the Writers Family Reunion is purely local. What we seek to offer and express through the Writers Family Reunion is that, as writers, we belong to the same family, even if we haven’t yet met. Our passion ties us together. We are united in our goal of the literary endeavor, and we can learn from one another, regardless of differences in genre, age, background, and experience level.

Scribe: The event includes free morning programming and ticketed afternoon programming. Tell us about the critique group speed dating portion of the program.

EWO: We’re insanely excited to be offering critique group speed dating, which has never happened in Houston. During speed dating, writers will get to meet each other based on similarities in genre, experience level, and geographic location—a necessity in Houston, to keep people’s drive times down. We’re also extremely excited to be offering small group critiques and Q&A’s with our professional writers. And by small, we mean that the highest number in these groups will be six! Writers who attend will get the personal and specialized attention that I think we all crave. It’s amazing to consider that on August 20, people will form writing friendships that could change their lives and literary careers forever. When you take a moment to realize the power and beauty of this fact, you touch the core of why we are working so hard to bring the Writers Family Reunion and all our events into being.

Scribe: Besides the Writers Family Reunion, what other upcoming Writespace programs should Houston-area writers put on their calendars?

Writefest_25-page-001EWO: Holy cow, Writefest. Writefest. Writefest! Writefest is our annual literary journal fair, and there’s no other event like it in the country. It’s an opportunity for new and experienced writers to meet journal editors from around the nation—last year, we had thirty journals represented by their staff, including the editor of McSweeney’s. Literary journals are a great way for writers to begin—in fact, they’re the way most writers DO begin. So many great writers have been discovered by agents who find one of their short stories or essays published in a journal. But, of course, journals aren’t just some kind of stepping-stone to publishing and selling books. First-and-foremost, they are works of art in-and-of themselves, regardless of their role in literary life and in the marketplace.

Mark your calendars for Writefest on March 6th-12th in 2017! The weekend journal fair is packed with panels, presentations, and readings and it’s preceded by four days of intimate literary fiction, speculative fiction, poetry, flash fiction, and memoir workshops. Last year everyone raved about the event on social media channels, and it’s going to be even better in 2017.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Writers’ League of Texas members can use the code WLTMEMBER to receive $15 off the ticket price. Visit the Writespace website to purchase your ticket.

An Interview with Gemini Ink

“Gemini Ink prides itself on being a cutting-edge community-centered literary arts center. We really try to bring the latest literary news–the most exciting writers and developments in literary arts around the country–to San Antonio.”

-Sheila Black, Gemini Ink

Here at the Writers’ League of Texas, we love to highlight other literary organizations throughout the state that are doing great work. From July 21 to July 24, Gemini Ink, located in San Antonio, Texas, is hosting their inaugural Gemini Ink Writers Conference. Writers’ League members can sign up for the conference at a reduced rate. Read the interview below for more details on Gemini Ink, the conference, and how to sign up.

gemini-ink-logoScribe: Tell us about Gemini Ink and the kinds of programming you offer.

Sheila Black: Gemini Ink is an independent literary arts center. We were founded by the amazing Texas writer and teacher Nan Cuba, who took the organization from a volunteer run reading series to a multi-program non-profit. Our mission is simple: to help people create and share the human story.

We enact this mission through five core programs: Writers in Communities (WIC), Creative Writing Classes (CWC), Open Classroom, the Mentorship Program, the Gemini Ink Writers Conference. You can read about these programs on our website.

Gemini Ink prides itself on being a cutting-edge community-centered literary arts center. We really try to bring the latest literary news–the most exciting writers and developments in literary arts around the country–to San Antonio. We work steadily to support writers–at whatever stage of their craft–to nurture the art of writing as an essential life practice.

Scribe: At the Writers’ League, we love learning about thriving literary communities throughout Texas. What are some of your favorite aspects of the San Antonio literary community?

SB: There is so much I am excited about in the San Antonio literary community!  But one of the things I love most is how connected the writers here are to place–to San Antonio itself. You see this in the writers we produce–no matter how different they are in style or subject, they always infuse their work with a strong sense of this place. Another key to our literary community is the totally amazing spoken word poets we have in this city. You can find great spoken word poetry in every corner of San Antonio, every night of the week. That’s something to really celebrate, and it might be one reason why recently so many of our Texas Poet Laureates have been poets from San Antonio.

Scribe: The topic for your upcoming Gemini Ink Writers Conference is “The State of The Book.” Can you elaborate a little more on this theme and how it informs the conference programming?

Alexandra Vandekamp: We decided to focus on this theme of “The State of the Book” at our inaugural Gemini Ink Writers Conference because the American literary scene is evolving so rapidly, and the form of the book itself is morphing in that landscape. Our idea for this conference is to create a space for a dynamic, multi-cultural conversation on all things books, both from a craft perspective and a commercial one. The conference will last from July 21 through July 24. During these four days, we will be offering writers of all levels, beginners to published authors, chances to push their craft in new, exciting directions and to interact with other writers from all over Texas and the country.

During this conference, there will also be free public programming in the evening with author events and live music.  Friday night we are hosting an event at Viva Tacoland, an open-air lounge along the San Antonio Riverwalk, and Saturday night is another author event with a DJ at the Southwest School of Art campus. We are after an inclusive, highly creative, yet relaxed vibe at this conference, and for that reason our tagline is: serious. literary. fun. You can find more info on our website.

Scribe: The conference includes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry workshops for registrants to attend. What should attendees expect in these workshops?

AV: Attendees should expect highly creative, intimate workshops (we cap off at 15 for each one) that are generative in nature. In other words, we want the participants in these classes to absorb advice, information and new sources of inspiration for their writing as well as actually produce and generate new work while in the class. The idea is to have each workshop participant walk away with new tools, prompts, and a reservoir of creative ideas to fuel future writing. For a full description of each workshop, including pricing, visit our website.

Scribe: Besides the conference, what other upcoming Gemini Ink programs should San Antonio writers put on their calendars?

AV: We are quite excited about our Fall 2016 roster of authors and will be hosting the Iraqi War Veteran and award-winning poet and memoirist, Brian Turner, author of the book of poems Here, Bullet, and the memoir My Life as  Foreign Country. He’s a powerful speaker on being both a poet and soldier. In addition, we will be bringing to San Antonio the Bangladeshi-American poet, Tarfia Faizullah, whose first book of poems, Seam, takes on issues of violence and especially violence towards women. One main sequence in the book imagines the process of a Bangledeshi-American female interviewer speaking with a birangona, a bangladeshi woman raped by Pakistani soldiers during the 1971 Liberation War. Faizullah’s poems are also startling for their use of language and are just memorable literary experiences. Matthew Donovan, a wonderful essayist, will also be joining us to teach a workshop on melding the visual and literary arts.

We also also excited about the local writers who will be teaching workshops for us in the fall, such as the writer, J.R. Helton, who has devised his own form of “autobiographical fiction” and is the author of such novels as Drugs. A Novel and Jugheads. He’s a writer who has been called “the next Bukowski” for his unapologetic, edgy style. He’s also a veteran writing teacher and we are excited about his 4-week class. And Joe Jimenez is a local poet and YA author who will be offering a class on Young Adult fiction that I think will be very dynamic for anyone interested in breaking into that genre. These are just a few examples of the authors we are thrilled to be a part of our fall programming.

In the fall and throughout the year, we will also be hosting an array of literary events throughout the city, such as our monthly author reading and open mic at Viva Tacoland, an open air lounge along the San Antonio River Walk.  This is just a great relaxed space to hear great writing in, and we are looking forward to continuing it this fall.  We even have a Viva Tacoland cocktail named in our honor called, The Gemini. Hint: its key ingredient is cucumber vodka. We will also be hosting other author events at different locations in the city. In the spring 2017 we will be bringing U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera to San Antonio, which we are thrilled about. Our Writing in Communities Program, headed by Jen Knox, will be continuing to bring creative writing to all corners of the city by offering free classes in senior centers, homeless shelters, and school districts that would otherwise not have the resources to do so, among other sites. We will also be offering a fun series for lit lovers called Nights of Noir, which will look at some classics of noir fiction, such as The Maltese Falcon and others.

Thanks Shelia, Alexandra, and the Gemini Ink team!

For more information about Gemini Ink, visit their website.

Writers’ League members can register for the Gemini Ink Conference at the reduced member rate. Just call (210) 734-9673 and mention membership in the Writers’ League of Texas. WLT members may also email Alexandra Vandekamp at or Hayley Trimmer at with any questions or to sign up.


An Interview with Tim Staley

Tim Staley is the executive director of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, the nonprofit support organization for the Austin Public Library.

Join Tim and the rest of the APLFF on April 25th for the 6th annual New Fiction Confab, an all-day literary event that invites critically acclaimed authors to spend a day in Austin reading their work, engaging in critical conversations, and leading writing workshops. For more information about one of the Library Foundation’s largest literary programs, and a schedule of the day’s events, visit the New Fiction Confab event page here and read our Q&A with Tim below.

Can you tell our readers a little bit about the mission of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation?

Tim Staley: The Austin Public Library Friends Foundation supports the Austin Public Library by increasing public awareness about the library and its importance to the community and by enhancing library collections, programs and facilities. Many of our programs are devoted to literacy, reading and increasing Austinites’ access to information and knowledge. Some of our programs include the Mayor’s Book Club, New Fiction Confab, Badgerdog writing workshops and the Texas Teen Book Festival.


Now in its sixth year, tell us how the New Fiction Confab has changed over the years?

 TS: There are more local authors involved in this year’s program than there have been in the past which is more indicative of Austin’s growing literary scene than it is anything in particular about the Confab. This program has always been committed and in large part even intended to promoting local literary talent and each year there just seems to be more and more Austinites publishing excellent fiction. The Confab is devoted to keeping up with this burgeoning talent.

What can you tell us about the authors that have been featured at the New Fiction Confab? 

 TS: The Confab seeks authors who have with just one or two books, established a distinct and unique voice and who, we expect, will continue to produce distinguished work for a long time to come.

Once again the Confab will feature the Austin Lit Fair, a showcase of local publishers whose contributions have helped shape the Austin literary scene. How have you seen the local literary scene grow and change, and how do you see the Confab and more generally the APLFF as part of this growth?

 TS: The Confab can play a role in connecting local literary journals with readers.  We hope that through the Austin Lit Fair we’re able to help raise the profile of the many local literary journals and publishers who are doing such good work.

What other APLFF programs would you like our readers to know about?

TS: Don’t forget the Badgerdog writing workshops!  Check for the schedule.

Thanks, Tim!

Click here to learn more about the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation.

Click here for more information about the New Fiction Confab.


Meet the Conference Faculty

An Interview with Editor Michael Signorelli

Michael Signorelli, a Senior Editor at Henry Holt and Company, Inc, will be a featured editor at this year’s Agents and Editors Conference. Learn more about Michael by visiting our Featured Editors page and reading the Q&A below!

How would you describe your personal approach to working with a writer/client?

Michael Signorelli: I aim to publish the books on my list with attentive and unflagging enthusiasm. My working relationship with an author is based upon my belief in their work. I’ve signed up an author because I want the privilege of finding his or her book its readers. And I strive to be the author’s advocate at every stage of the publication process.

signorelli_photoIf a potential client could do one thing to make the experience of working together even better, what would it be?

MS: As in any environment, work or otherwise, having a thankful and positive attitude will win the day. I don’t ask that writers be grateful because I’m their editor or because we paid them money or because they owe us, but because they’ll more fully appreciate the life of the book. If you’re being published, you’ve beaten long odds. The ensuing publication process is all gravy and should be enjoyed. And everyone you’re dealing with in the publishing house is in the business of finding your book its readers. That’s a nice set of circumstances. Of course, if you see that we’re not doing our job, there’s no reason to feel grateful for that; and when you, the so far wonderfully gracious writer, make your dissatisfaction clear, we’ll have very good reason to listen.

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to receiving submissions, reading work, etc.?

MS: I go a little crazy when I send a rejection and in response the agent immediately sends me another submission. I feel like I’m being suffocated in a burlap bag. I don’t see how that’s a very selling strategy. Is this new book really for me? Or am I just being showered with everything and anything you have on offer? As for reading submitted material, you might think that bad writing in all its forms would be a constant irritation. But once I have encountered the offending text, I simply stop reading. Bad writing actually makes my job easier.

You often hear that it’s the first ten pages – or even the first page – that sells a story. Is there something particular that you look for in those first few pages?

MS: I don’t have a check list. I don’t need to see anything in particular. But I need to feel that I am in capable hands.

If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

MS: Read widely.

Thanks, Michael!

Click here for a full list of our A&E Conference Faculty.

Click here for more information and to register for the 2014 A&E Conference.

World Book Night 2012

At the Writers’ League, we love hearing about new readers. Books change lives, and nothing is more exciting than hearing about some of our favorite books getting passed along to someone for the first time! That is why we love the idea behind World Book Night. WBN is a non-profit that began in the UK in 2011 to promote adult reading among “light” or “non-readers,” as well as young adult readers. Givers of books picked up a box of twenty free copies of a book, which they selected from a list of thirty titles, to distribute. Givers had the freedom to pass along these books to anyone they wished.

Yesterday, on April 23, World Book Night took place in the US as well as the UK and Ireland in over 6,000 cities. The special World Book Night editions of these books were printed for free, and the authors waived royalties on the books to help the event take place. A full list of titles can be found here, as well as other information about the World Book Night. Austin’s own independent book store, BookPeople, participated in the event, distributing copies of the bestselling YA novel, The Huger Games to students at Martin Middle School. Look how thrilled they are, posing with their new books! We are thrilled as well– and hope that everyone is enjoying their new books, no matter what title they received. Remember, sharing books you love with those you love is an invaluable gift!

Happy reading, and our deepest admiration to BookPeople and the folks at World Book Night!
Katherine, for the Writers’ League

2011 Summer Writing Retreat

Ever want to get away from it all and spend a week immersed in writing? Here’s your chance with the 2011 Summer Writing Retreat at Sul Ross State University in scenic Alpine, deep in the heart of West Texas.
A fun way to relax and get great writing advice!

Intensive writing workshops will be taught by four of Texas’ premier authors. Whichever class you select, it will feature:

* Intimate classes (20 students maximum)
* Personalized instruction
* Time dedicated for writing

For more information about tuition and classes, please visit our site at:

We look forward to seeing you there!