June 1 - 3, 2023

Grow your writing in sessions and panels led by top authors, editors, and writing professionals. Topics include fiction, nonfiction, YA, publishing, revision, and more! Sign up for conference add-ons such as one-on-one pitch meetings with literary agents, first page critiques, a pre-conference writing retreat with Jacinda Townsend, and a post-conference writing retreat with Ashley Blooms. This year's keynote speaker is Angela Jackson-Brown! 

Angela Jackson-Brown is an award-winning writer, poet and playwright who is an Associate Professor in the creative writing program at Indiana University in Bloomington. She also teaches in the graduate program at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. She is the author of Drinking From a Bitter Cup, House Repairs, When Stars Rain Down and The Light Always Breaks. In October of 2023, Angela’s next novel, Homeward, a follow-up to When Stars Rain Down, will be published by Harper Muse.




We have 2 registration rates. See our conference add-ons and the Alex & Jayne Waldrop Scholarships below. 



The Alex & Jayne Moore Waldrop Books In Progress Scholarships are open to people ages 50 and up. There are THREE $100 scholarships remaining. The scholarship reduces the cost of conference registration. 

Email info@carnegiecenterlex.org or call 859-254-4175 ext. 21 to claim a scholarship.


Purchase a one-on-one pitch meeting with a literary agent. Must be registered for the conference to sign up for a meeting. Spots are limited! Meetings will take place via Zoom the week after the conference. 

- Lauren Bajek, Liza Dawson Associates
- Marie Lamba, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency



"Premise to Plot: Gyroscopic Spin in Fiction"
with Jacinda Townsend

Gyroscopic force, on ships, stabilize roll motions and aid navigation. Similarly, gyroscopic force, in fiction, works along two different axes in order to spin plot and direct a narrative. In this seminar, we will examine the spin of various short stories and think about ways we might use counterforce to spin our own strong narratives.


with Ashley Blooms

The retreat will offer writing exercises to explore projects that are already in progress and/or to brainstorm new ideas you may have formed over the weekend. So whether you're ready to dive into revision and editing or are excited to draft something new, the retreat is the perfect opportunity to put all that you've learned to use.


"Recognizing Your Authorial Voice in a World Full of Noise" with Angela Jackson-Brown

“You sound like . . . ” For many writers, if we’re lucky, our voices are first compared to other writers. But as time goes on, we begin to finetune our writing voices, so that eventually readers can read an opening line from our work, and immediately recognize our handywork. During this keynote, Angela Jackson-Brown will share with you the evolution of her authorial voice, and give you details for how you, too, can develop your own unique, authorial voice. 



"Best & Worst of Publishing" with Tiffany Reisz, Claudia Love, & Andrew Shaffer (moderator)

Join us for this panel where writers share the ups and downs of their journeys through the book world, with a focus on the rapidly changing nature of the publishing world. You'll hear personal experiences with publication and rejection (and rejection and rejection)...Hollywood meetings gone wrong...bizarre interactions with readers...and what makes it all worth it, in the end (hint: it's not the money). Okay, sometimes it's the money.

"Writing for Children" with Olivia Cole, Elizabeth Kilcoyne, Bryce Oquaye, &  Tracee de Hahn (moderator)

Come learn the depth and excitement of writing for young adult and middle-grade readers. Explore the differences, similarities, and unique aspects of these challenging genres from experienced creators.

"Beautiful Minds: The Neurodivergent Writer" with Claudia Love Mair, Amelia Zachry, & Elizabeth Kilcoyne

This panel explores the processes, strengths, and challenges neurodivergent writers with autism, attention deficit disorder, anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder experience as they work. Panelists will discuss their best practices for getting words on the page, and offer insight on how they get through their most difficult challenges.


"Conquering the Murky Middle" with Tracee de Hahn

You have a great concept and brilliant start, and you know where you are heading, ready to end with a bang. But the middle . . . the part that gets the story from your brilliant beginning to a rewarding finish? Yes, you’re in the murky middle.

"Character Arcs with Cary Grant" with Tiffany Reisz

Enjoy a fun light-hearted exploration of the character arc in fiction with this session led by USA Today bestselling author Tiffany Reisz. By viewing and studying scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece "North by Northwest" we'll go on a hero's journey with Roger Thornhill, played by the late great Cary Grant. No dress code for this class but gray flannel suits are appreciated. All levels. All ages.

"Nonfiction & Memoir" with Andrew Shaffer

Got an idea for a nonfiction book or memoir? Before you invest months or years writing it, hold up! Nonfiction publishing isn’t like the fiction market—you don’t need to have a completed manuscript before querying agents. New York Times bestseller Andrew Shaffer—author of two nonfiction titles for HarperCollins—will help you turn your idea into a formatted book proposal for querying agents and editors.

"The Long & Short of It" with Minda Honey

While many writers are focused on their book project, you should also be writing and publishing shorter pieces that can establish you as a writer, grow your readership, catch the eye of an agent, and make you more appealing to an editor. After the book deal, publish companion essays to support your book during its launch. In this seminar, I'll discuss how you can shift gears as a writer between your much longer book-length project and the smaller, shorter essays most outlets are looking to publish.

"What Came Before: Incorporating Backstory into Your Work" with Ashley Blooms 

Our stories are often informed not just by the events that are unfolding, but by what came before the narrative begins. How can we include backstory, important information, and past events in a way that doesn’t slow down the current narrative? How can we avoid infodumping and overwhelming our reader? This session will focus on ways to mindfully and artfully include backstory in our narratives while avoiding common pitfalls.

"Owning Truths in Memoir" with Amelia Zachry 

Memoir is personal and often includes difficult storytelling. Vulnerability is key but poses challenges. How do we reconcile our narratives with that of others? How do we protect the integrity of our stories? How do we face the risk of offending others? Is there healing to be had when divulging our deepest darkest secrets publicly? Join us to unravel the intricacies of owning our truths in memoir. In this open conversation, we will share tips and tools to gear us up to stand in our truths, empowering ourselves and the stories we liberate.

"Writing Tough Topics for Young Adults"
with Olivia Cole

Young adult fiction is a landscape that has historically faced tough subjects head-on, in the interest of telling stories that expand the worlds of its readers and shed light on perspectives that the adults in their lives may not always approach with ease. This session invites attendees to consider which tough subjects they are equipped to write, and some of the factors to consider when doing so.

The Carnegie Center is home to writers, lifelong learners, & the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. We hope to see you soon!

Contact Us

251 West Second Street
Lexington, KY 40507

(859) 254-4175

Monday–Thursday: 10:00 AM–7:30 PM
Friday: 11:30 AM–7:30 PM
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED