Clarksville, Tennessee, was a pivotal center of the Southern Renaissance of the 1920s and '30s. Writers of the era living in Clarksville included Robert Penn Warren, Evelyn Scott, Caroline Gordon and Allen Tate. Additional writers, including Cleanth Brooks, Ford Madox Ford, Donald Davidson, Katherine Ann Porter, Robert Lowell, Andrew Lytle, Malcolm Cowley, Frances and Brainard Cheney and others gathered to write and discuss their work at "Benfolly," Tate and Gordon's home overlooking the banks of the Cumberland River. Their Clarksville home became a Mecca for writers of the Southern Renaissance, and from that site poured literature which enriched the American scene. In that great tradition, we offer you the Nineteenth Annual Clarksville Writers Conference.



Thank you to all who attended our 2023 conference! We hope you will make plans to join us for the Nineteenth Annual Clarksville Writers Conference, scheduled for June 5 - 7, 2024.

Below is information from last year's conference. Please stay tuned to our website and social media for updates about our exciting lineup in 2024. In the meantime, we invite you to take part in our Clarksville Writers Contest. The submission deadline has been extended until February 10.

Join us for this fun, affordable and talent-laden conference featuring two days of writing workshops and presentations, a keynote banquet with the authors, a writing master class and more!

In 2023, we were honored to host:

  • David George Haskell - award-winning writer and biologist; author of Sounds Wild and Broken The Forest Unseen and The Songs of Trees; and recipient of the Eighth Annual Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature
  • David Alford - actor, playwright, screenwriter and author of Spirit: The Authentic Story of the Bell Witch of Tennessee, Smoke: A Ballad of the Night Riders and Living The Dream: The Morning After Drama School
  • Mary Martha Greene - award-winning cook and author of the food memoir The Cheese Biscuit Queen Tells All and the forthcoming The Cheese Biscuit Queen: I Don't Believe I'd Have Told THAT!
  • Rick Gregory - co-author of the bicentennial histories of Robertson County, Tennessee, and Springfield, Tennessee, and author of the forthcoming The Bell Witch Legend: In Myth and Memory
  • Robert Gwaltney - author of the critically acclaimed Southern Gothic novel The Cicada Tree, winner of the Somerset Award for Literary Fiction, and recipient of the Fall 2022 Pat Conroy Writer's Residency
  • Ellen Kanervo - editor or co-editor of five books dealing with Clarksville's history, including The Diary of Nannie Haskins Williams and The Diary of Serepta Jordan
  • Laurina Isabella Lyle - environmental writer, chairperson of the Clarksville Writers Conference, and lead writer of a large, permanent exhibit at the Wade Bourne Nature Center in Clarksville
  • Sharon Mabry - award-winning mezzo-soprano soloist and recording artist and author of The Postmaster's Daughter, a 1930s murder mystery set in Appalachia
  • Cynthia Marsh - founder of the Goldsmith Community Press at Austin Peay State University and narrative artist who uses wood type and letterpress printing
  • Bren McClain - author of the critically acclaimed debut novel, One Good Mama Bone, and a forthcoming novel which has already received acclaim with the gold medal for the William Faulkner Novel-in-Progress
  • Alan Stuart Mearns - poet, songwriter, classical guitarist and composer of Yes the Raven: U2 Covered in Love, Yes the Raven: Covered in Dust and Yes the Raven: Abilene
  • Shana Thornton - owner of Thorncraft Publishing, a community writer, and author of four novels including Poke Sallet Queen and the Family Medicine Wheel and Ripe for the Pickin'
  • Amy Wright - author of the nonfiction book Paper Concert: A Conversation in the Round and co-editor of the Virginia volume of The Southern Poetry Anthology
  • Susan Beckham Zurenda - author of the award-winning debut novel Bells for Eli, a coming-of-age tale set in South Carolina, and the forthcoming The Girl From the Red Rose Motel