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.

Developed by Patricia Winn in 2005, the Clarksville Writers Conference is presented by the Clarksville Arts & Heritage Council, in partnership with Austin Peay State University and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

  • Laurina Isabella Lyle, Conference Chair
  • Ellen Kanervo, Executive Director
  • Sharon Barnes, Conference Committee Member
  • Jacqueline Crouch, Conference Committee Member
  • Pam Gray, Conference Committee Member
  • Kitty Harvill, Conference Committee Member
  • Kathy Heuston, Conference Committee Member
  • Colin Isotti, Conference Committee Member
  • Cynthia Marsh, Conference Committee Member
  • Sarah Kanervo Reid, Conference Committee Member
  • Shana Thornton, Conference Committee Member
  • Katie Kennedy, Registrar
  • Mike Fink, Graphic Designer

Conference Workshops and Presentations

Valuable to writers and interesting to readers, our conference offers something for everyone. Eighteen writing workshops and presentations will be held on Thursday, June 8, and Friday, June 9, on the campus of Austin Peay State University in the Art + Design Building. Lunch and refreshments will be provided each day, and book signing will be available. In keeping with the conference's theme of "The Gift of Writing in Community," David George Haskell is gifting all attendees a complimentary copy of Sounds Wild and Broken, finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Keynote Banquet with the Authors

Enjoy a social event with your favorite authors in a beautiful setting with fine food. A keynote banquet featuring David George Haskell, award-winning writer, biologist and recipient of the Eighth Annual "Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature," will be held the evening of Thursday, June 8, at F&M Bank's The Franklin Room (50 Franklin Street), overlooking the Cumberland River and featuring an incredible view of Historic Downtown Clarksville. Authors will be on hand to sign books during our "Meet the Authors" reception at 5:30pm. Dinner is at 6:00pm.

Master Prose Class

"What is working? Do more of that!"

Join critically acclaimed author Bren McClain's highly interactive Master Prose Class, designed to take your novel or short story or memoir to the next level. Bren's goal for each one of you is to leave even more pumped and eager to get back to the page. This day-long session will follow a workshop format, where you will receive feedback on your work. (You will submit ahead of time up to 2,500 words to the entire group, who will answer some guided questions to help identify what each person really likes about what you're doing.) We'll spend our morning with the feedback and the afternoon doing some revising or writing new words.

Bren will select 12 writers to join her for this master class from 9:00am to 4:00pm on Thursday, June 8. (Lunch is included.) Selection is competitive and open to writers of prose: fiction or nonfiction (no poetry).

The submission deadline has passed. Thank you to all who submitted manuscripts. Notifications will be sent by May 10.


The Clarksville Writers Conference is made possible in part through the generous support of the following:

Additional funding support has been provided by:

  • Lawson & Beth Mabry
  • Patricia & Howard Winn
  • Jacqueline & Ned Crouch
  • Charlie & Kris Foust
  • Sherri & Jeff Robinson
  • Dee Boaz
  • Joan R. Harris
  • Nick Nicholson
  • Laurina Isabella Lyle

This project was supported, in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.