Pennwriters Celebrates 30th Annual Writers’ Conference!

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The 2017 Pennwriters Conference (May 19 – 21, 2017) will feature two keynote speakers, literary agents and editors, and an assortment of writing workshops and presentations, as part of the organization’s 30th annual event.


PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Since the late 1980s, writers from Pennsylvania and beyond have been gathering to network and learn about writing and the publishing industry at the annual Pennwriters Conference. This year will mark the organization’s 30th Annual Pennwriters Conference.

The three-day event, held at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott in Coraopolis, will begin Friday, May 19, at 9 a.m. and conclude Sunday, May 21 at 1 p.m. Workshops, presentations and panels will be led by published authors, literary agents, marketing specialists, and publishing industry experts.

The Friday evening keynote speaker will be Chuck Sambuchino, a bestselling humor book writer, a freelance editor, and a former editor for Writer’s Digest. He was named by Forbes as one of the top influencers in publishing. The Saturday luncheon keynote speaker will be Annette Dashofy, the USA Today bestselling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural PA’s tight-knit Vance Township. Her books were Agatha Award finalists for Best First Novel and Best Contemporary Novel.

The agents and editors participating in this year’s conference are Noah Ballard (agent, Curtis Brown, Ltd.); Louise Fury (agent, The Bent Agency); Mark Gottlieb (agent, Trident Media Group); Liz Kossnar (editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers); Eric Myers (agent, Myers Literary Management); and Roseanne Wells (agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency). One-on-one pitch appointments are available on a first-registered, first-scheduled basis. Other activities will include read and critique sessions, pitch appointments, and a Saturday after-hours social.

The Friday luncheon panel, “From Idea to Publication,” will be moderated by author and Pennwriters founder Nancy Martin, and will cover how a writer can be part of the team that positions a book to get it into the hands of readers. The panelists will be agent Rachel Ekstrom; author and marketer Nick Courage; and publicist and publishing pro Katie Kurtzman — the team behind Littsburgh (

The Pennwriters Conference will feature 40+ hours of sessions to choose from, including: Your Publishing Options Today; Damsels Without Distress—Writing Powerful Female Characters; How to Write an Effective Hook and Query; You’ve Sold Your Book, Now What?; How to Form a Critique Group that Works for You; Self-Publishing: Create, Publish, and Sell!; Plotting Your Way Out of the Slush Pile; The Villain’s Story; Master Class: Joss Whedon; How Far Is Too Far in Middle Grade and YA?; How to Develop Spellbinding Characters; Building Your Nonfiction Platform and Proposal; In Case The Tonight Show Calls; Advanced Social Media; Building Your Freelance Portfolio: Writing for Magazines & Newspapers 101; Fifty Things I Learned Writing Fifty Books; Using Scrivener for More Organized and Efficient Writing; Your Own YouTube Channel; Fictional Characters Anonymous; Navigating the World of Short Fiction; Wheel of History; The Care and Feeding of Your Marketing Muse; Imagining the Future (without Zombies) — How to Dream Up New Science Fiction and Fantasy; The Art of Pacing; Writing Strong Scenes; Inspiring Others The Chicken Soup Way; Forging Ahead: How to Turn an Hour a Day into a Lot of Words; Independent Bookstores and You; Powerful Tools to Enhance Your Writing Success. The complete workshop listing is available on the Pennwriters website.

Tuition is $320 for members of Pennwriters. Nonmember tuition is $375. Registration is now open. For information about the schedule, workshop sessions, faculty bios and more, visit

ABOUT PENNWRITERS — The Mission of Pennwriters Inc. is to help writers of all levels, from the novice to the award-winning and multi-published, improve and succeed in their craft. Pennwriters, a not-for-profit organization of more than 390 members from Pennsylvania and beyond, was established in 1988 as a networking organization for published and aspiring writers of all genres. The group offers an annual three-day writers conference and area events and has a strong internet presence, with email groups, online classes and social networks. For more information about Pennwriters and its members, visit


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