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Abby E

SoWal Guide
Staff member
Mar 1, 2016
South Walton FL
The Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County announces the 5th annual Longleaf Writers Conference to take place May 13 – 20 in Seaside, FL as part of Art Week South Walton.

The Longleaf Writers Conference (formerly named Seaside Writers Conference) includes a full week of intensive writing workshops, one-day seminars, agent consultations, school outreach programs and social events. The conference, which takes place in and around the Academic Village in Seaside, FL, provides an opportunity for beginning, intermediate, and advanced writers to celebrate writing, to network, and to hone their craft.

Visiting authors Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Poachers, Smonk, Hell at the Breach) and Jill McCorkle (The Cheerleader, Life After Life) will each lead a seminar and reading while guest agent Annie Hwang (Folio Literary Management) and guest editors Sara Weiss (Ballantine Books/Random House) and Eliza Borne (Oxford American Magazine), will offer one-on-one consultations with attendees.

“We are so fortunate to continue to attract high-caliber writers such as Tom Franklin and Jill McCorkle,” said LWC co-founder, author and faculty member Matt Bondurant (The Wettest County In The World, made into the film Lawless; The Night Swimmer; The Third Translation). “And there is no other writers conference that allows you to step out of intimate workshops with national award-winning authors and agents directly onto the white sand of the Gulf of Mexico. Our writers love that, and they also appreciate the people and culture of the community.”

Bondurant and conference co-founder, faculty member and poet Seth Brady Tucker (Mormon Boy; We Deserve The Gods We Ask For), are joined by visiting faculty members Beth Ann Fennelly(Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables), Vandana Khanna (Train to Agra, Afternoon Masala, The Goddess Monologues), and Jennine Capo Crucet(Make Your Home Among Strangers, How To Leave Hialeah).

”We started this conference with a few key goals in mind: create a personal experience for our writers, give them a beautiful place to write and discuss with great teachers and good people, and to give back to the local community,” said Seth. “In the past few years, we have accomplished these goals, and the feedback from our attendees shows they feel the same way.”

Other components of the conference include the Scholars and Fellows Program for developing writers, the Celia Baker Veteran Scholarship, and a scholarship specifically for writers of color. Longleaf also sponsors a public-school outreach program in which Scholars and Fellows work directly with 8th and 11th grade writers in the Walton County schools. Some of the students go on to read their work publicly as part of the conference alongside a headliner.

The Longleaf Writers Conference (LWC) is produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and sponsored by the University of Mississippi, and The Seaside Institute.

“The Cultural Arts Alliance is proud to have partnered with the Writers Conference Founders to produce this conference,” said CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “Attendance increases each year and we know it will continue to grow as word spreads of the special nature of LWC. The conference fulfills part of the CAA’s mission to bring literary programming to the community while providing opportunities for hands-on literary arts enrichment in our public schools. We are grateful to the partners who continue to make the conference possible.”

Participants who pay for the full conference tuition will be able to take part in an intensive workshop and all daily activities, including special events, receptions and some meals. A la carte pricing is available for classes, workshops, consultations, and events perfect for locals who want to see what the SWC has to offer. Walk-ins are welcome. The Visiting Writer Readings are free and open to the public. Accommodations can also be secured through the registration process by paying the all-inclusive registration fee. Special Early Bird pricing available through March 20. Visit longleafwritersconference.com to register and for more information.

About Tom Franklin:
TOM FRANKLIN was born in the hamlet of Dickinson, Alabama, and was the first member of his family to finish college. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger Award. Franklin is a southern writer frequently compared with the likes of Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O’Connor, draws readers in with his expertly woven stories of crime, suspense, and colorful characters.

Franklin’s first work, Poachers (William Morrow), cast him into the literary limelight when it won the Edgar Award in 1999. The collection of ten stunning tales set in the woodlands, swamps, and chemical plants along the Alabama River portrays the bleak, and often violent, life of the rural south. He is also the author of Smonk (William Morrow) and Hell at the Breech (William Morrow), both of which served to establish him as a unique, Southern voice with which to be reckoned.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Alabama, Franklin began work on his master’s degree while working at a hospital in Mobile, Alabama. From there, he held a teaching position at Selma University, a historical, all-black, Baptist college, and then earned his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arkansas, where he met his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly. After winning third prize in the Playboy College Fiction Contest, Franklin decided to pursue a career in creative writing and, in 2001, won the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He currently teaches the University of Mississippi’s MFA program and lives with his wife and two children in Oxford, Mississippi, a place he loves and hopes never to leave.

About Jill McCorkle:
JILL McCORKLE has the distinction of having her first two novels published on the same day in 1984. Of these novels, The New York Times Book Review said, “One suspects the author of The Cheer Leader is a born novelist, with July 7th, she is also a full grown one.” Since then she has published three other novels—her latest, Life After Life —and four collections of short stories.

Five of her books have been named New York Times notable books. McCorkle has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Four of her stories have been tabbed for Best American Short Stories and several have been collected in New Stories from the South. Her short stories have appeared in The Atlantic,Ploughshares, The Oxford American, The Southern Review, Narrative Magazine and The American Scholar among others. Her story “Intervention” is included in the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. An essay, “Cuss Time,” originally published in The American Scholar was selected for Best American Essays. Other essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Garden and Gun, Southern Living, Our State, Allure and Real Simple.

McCorkle has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tufts, and Brandeis where she was the Fannie Hurst Visiting Writer. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard for five years where she also chaired Creative Writing. She currently teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at NC State University and is a core faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars. She is a frequent instructor in the Sewanee Summer Writers Program

. She lives with her husband, photographer Tom Rankin, in Hillsborough, NC.


The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is a Local Arts Agency that is the driving force for the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to be the catalyst for Walton County's growth as a destination for cultural and artistic excellence through which lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened. Discover more at CulturalArtsAlliance.com.
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