2018 Books-in-Progress Conference

  • Venue:
    Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning
  • Addl Info:

    Welcome Reception:
    Thursday, May 31, 5:30 pm

    Friday, June 1, 8:00 am-6:30 pm
    Saturday, June 2, 8:30 am-12:30 pm


  • Meets On:
        Thursdays, May 31 - June 2
  • Address:
    251 West Second Street
    Lexington, KY, 40507
  • Cost:
    $195; $170 for students

The 2018 Books-in-Progress Conference, featuring award-winning author Crystal Wilkinson (The Birds of Opulence; Blackberries, BlackberriesWater Street) is May 31-June 2, 2018, with optional pre-conference sessions and a welcome reception.

Wilkinson, one of Southern Living‘s Southerners of the Year, will keynote.

Immerse yourself in craft and business workshops led by top authors and writing professionals, including Manuel GonzalesRobert GipeWriter’s Digest editor Jessica Strawser, and more. Topics include revision, fiction, nonfiction, YA, publishing, and more.

Conference price is $195 ($170 for students) plus optional add-ons.

The Carnegie Books-in-Progress Conference also offers participants once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to pitch their book ideas to literary agents from New York City. This year, we are excited to features agents Arielle Datz of Dunow, Carlson, & Learner Literary Agency and Stacy Testa of Writers House, A Literary Agency.

Read below for more details. You can find a preliminary Conference agenda here.

Conference Registration


Optional add-ons:

  • Additional $75 for the pre-conference retreat (see below)
  • Additional $25 for a one-on-one session with a literary agent (see below)

Cancellation Policy: $50 of the conference fee is non-refundable. No refunds after May 11. No refunds can be issued for add-ons (literary agent meeting, pre-conference retreat).

Click here to register for the 2018 Books-in-Progress Conference and choose optional add-ons.

Pre-Conference Retreat

Optional add-on; limited spots; $75

Thursday, May 21, 10:00 am-5:00 pm: Begin your morning with movement and inspiration in a Writing & Yoga class. Enjoy an afternoon learning about building and layering tension with award-winning author Manuel Gonzales. Lunch on your own (12:00-1:00 pm).

$75 for pre-conference retreat. The retreat is ONLY available to full conference participants. Limited slots available. Click here to add the pre-conference retreat to your conference registration.

Welcome Reception

Free for Conference participants

Thursday, May 31 at 5:30 pm: Come meet your fellow conference-goers and even some of the presenters. We will open check-in early for all those who join us, nibble on food-by-the bite, and sip on wine, bourbon, and beer. At 6:30 pm, enjoy being part of the audience for the Carnegie Center Author Academy Class of 2018 Reading and Commencement Ceremony.

Literary Agent Pitch

Optional add-on; limited space; $25

Literary Agent room sponsored by Spalding University’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program.

Literary Agents

Choose one:

  • Pitching session with literary agent Arielle Datz of Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner Literary Agency
  • Pitching session with literary agent Stacy Testa of Writers House, A Literary Agency (FULL)

$25 for 10-minute meeting. One-on-one meetings are ONLY available to full conference participants. Limited slots available. Please choose only one agent – only one pitching session per participant.

Click here to book your session with Arielle Datz. (Stacy Testa meetings at capacity).

Conference Prep: The Pitch, First Page Critique, & More

Free for Conference participants

Saturday, April 28, 10:30 am-12:30 pm: If you’re serious about your writing, you’ll want to hear some helpful tips before you attend the Carnegie Books-in-Progress Conference. We’ll discuss how to pitch to an agent, what to expect from the First Page Critique, and ways networking with the literary community can benefit you. This seminar is led by Jennifer Mattox, one of the conference organizers.

Note: Completion of the Querying Agents: Novels seminar is recommended, but not required. To register for Conference Prep, click here.

Book Bench Preview Party

Friday, June 1, 6:00-8:00 pm

On Friday, June 1, all 37 book benches will be gathered together for the first time and placed throughout Gratz Park. Each bench is uniquely designed by a Kentucky artist and themed around a book written by a Kentucky author.

Come mingle with Kentucky’s painters and literati! Meet the authors and artists while enjoying cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres and listening to Bluegrass music.

Tickets: $40 per person for Carnegie Center 2018 Books-in-Progress Conference attendees (regularly $75). To purchase tickets, call 859-254-4175 ext. 21


Parking information will be available closer to the date of the conference.

Lodging Options

If you’re joining us from out of town, downtown Lexington has a variety of lodging options available:

Hilton Lexington/Downtown – within walking distance to Carnegie
Hyatt Regency Lexington – within walking distance to Carnegie
21c Museum Hotel Lexington – within walking distance to Carnegie

Other lodging options
Airbnb – apartments, houses, and rooms for rent
Lyndon House Bed & Breakfast – within walking distance to Carnegie

Thank you to our sponsors:

Reitzel Cook Foundation