• Young Writers Conference
  • Young Writers Conference
  • Young Writers Conference
  • Young Writers Conference

Young Writers Conference

  • Young Writers Conference
  • Young Writers Conference
  • Young Writers Conference
  • Young Writers Conference

Keynote Speaker - Vu Tran

Vu Tran's first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of the Year. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers' Award and an NEA Fellowship, and has also been a fellow at Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, he teaches at the University of Chicago, where he directs the fiction program.

 

Click a heading below to expand/collapse information

 

Introduction

This one-day conference, designed primarily for students in grades 9-12, offers a series of writing workshops taught by UT Martin faculty and visiting writer, Vu Tran. Students can attend hands-on workshops in writing poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, as well as songwriting, literary analysis, and producing résumés. Other events include a luncheon, a keynote address by Vu Tran, and an open-mic reading for students. Students will have an opportunity to read works created during the conference or other original writing created at home or in school. Throughout the day students will create pieces of writing, connect with other young writers from the region, and learn from outstanding writers and teachers of writing. The conference is sponsored by the UT Martin Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages with help from the West Tennessee Writing Project.

 

The conference fee is $12 for students and free for teachers; it includes all workshops, readings, and lunch. The conference is open to outstanding students recommended by their teachers on the basis of academic achievement and artistic promise. Teachers may attend the student’s workshops, along with their students. We do ask that recommending teachers follow their school’s policies in arranging for parent/guardian permissions for students who will be attending the conference.

 

Registration is limited to 200 participants on a first come, first served basis. Registration forms must be received by Friday, October 26th, along with payment for the conference registration fee. Checks should be made payable to UT Martin.

 

Registration

Student Registration

Teacher Registration

Payment:

Check - Make check payable to UT Martin and mail to

Educational Outreach

110 Gooch Hall

UT Martin

Martin, TN 38238

Credit/Debit Card - Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. Call 731-881-7082.

 

Schedule

8:30-9:00 Check-in and Registration, Watkins Auditorium Lobby, Boling University Center

Concurrent Sessions for Students

9:00-10:30

Why We Tell Stories––Vu Tran
Myths About Writing––Kelle Alden
Erasing Boundaries: Poetry Found Around the House––Sally Brannen
Practical Advice: What It Takes to Write a Young Adult Novel––Merry Brown
“Three Chords and the Truth:” a Songwriting Workshop I––David Carithers
The Art and Crafts of Paperback Romance Novels––Lúcia Flórido
Decoding Mysterious Allegories––Chris Hill

 

10:45-12:15

Résumés: Your Key to Gainful Employment––Trisha Capansky
“Three Chords and the Truth:” a Songwriting Workshop II––David Carithers
Word Weaving–A Poetry Workshop––Anna Clark
Creative Journaling: Finding Ideas and Your Voice––Tiffany Emerson
Writing From Behind the Mask––John Galyean
“We Wrote It Together:” A Collaborative-Writing Exploration––Heidi Huse
Roots and Routes: Writing About Place in an Age of Wandering––Leslie LaChance

 

12:30-1:45 --- Lunch and Keynote Address by Vu Tran, Student Life Center

 

2:00-3:00 --- Open-mic Student Reading, Legislative Chamber, Room 111 University Center

 

Student Workshop Descriptions: 9:00-10:30

Why We Tell Stories—Vu Tran

As writers, when we ask that most fundamental of questions—Why do we tell stories? —we are also asking ourselves why stories are important to us and what that answer says about us individually and collectively. This workshop will address these questions through a discussion of Christopher Booker’s Seven Basic Plots and the ways we use stories to organize our ideas about ourselves and the world around us, whether we are writers or simply the audience for them.

 

Myths about Writing—Kelle Alden

We’ve all seen the stereotypical descriptions of writers: men of genius who, despite suffering from mental illness, barricade themselves in their New York City studios with their drink and their typewriters, churning out works of genius on their first drafts. But what do real writers look like, and how do they work? In this workshop, we will look at real writers’ descriptions of their process and develop a better understanding of the effort that goes into planning, drafting, and revising works of fiction. We will also try out one of the writing exercises recommended by these authors.

 

Erasing Boundaries: Poetry Found Around the House—Sally Brannen

You’ll take familiar (and not so familiar) texts and like a rogue graffiti artist transform them into your own new poetic works that you’ll have an opportunity to share. Texts to be sculpted will be provided, but you’re invited to bring texts you’d like to work with during the workshop. You’ll never look at a stack of words the same way again as this thoughtful process can mock, celebrate, counter, refine, or add new meaning to the original text.

 

Practical Advice: What It Takes to Write a Young Adult Novel—Merry Brown

Are you interested in learning about the process of writing a young adult book? Do you want to know what makes a book a “young adult” book instead of something else? Do you want to know how long your book should be? What should you do if (when!) you get stuck and/or bored with your story? What do you do once you’ve finished your book? (For that matter, how do you know when you’re done?) How do you get published? If you answer yes to any of the preceding questions, join our session!

 

Three Chords and the Truth:” a Songwriting Workshop I—David Carithers

Harlan Howard once described country music as “three chords and the truth,” but the phrase now connotes the raw power of any honest song with a straightforward structure. Power, honesty and simplicity will be our watchwords, then, as we try to find our own “three chords and the truth.” Carithers will discuss his creative influences, offer advice to aspiring songwriters, and share one of his original songs. Participants will then have time to create new songs (in groups or individually) or to revise materials in progress and share their works with the group. Participants are also encouraged to share new material from the workshop at the open mic session at 2:00 p.m. A limited number of instruments will be available (e.g., one or two guitars), so musicians are encouraged to bring their own if possible. No musical training is required for this session, and all styles of music and songwriting are welcome.

 

The Art and Craft of Paperback Romance Novels—Lúcia Flórido

Have you ever wondered who reads novels such as The Firefighter’s Secret Baby or Temptation in a Kilt? Have you ever wondered how difficult it can possibly be to write something like Married to the Werewolf Navy Seal or The Alluring Billionaire Country Doctor? Wonder no more! In this workshop, you will learn about the different ‘flavors’ within the genre and their essential elements. In one hour, you will understand the expectations of your standard audience, become an expert in the craft of appealing titles, pinpoint the indispensable components of the narrative and discover the steps to the creation of the most extraordinary plots. In one ninety-minute session you will be given the tools to live a life of literary fame and attain unimaginable fortune!

 

Decoding Mysterious Allegories—Chris Hill

In this workshop, we will encounter various ancient and modern examples of a unique and powerful intersection of imagery, symbol, and purpose: the allegory. We find allegory in old poems, long stories, fairy tales, science fiction, and all kinds of visual arts. What can seem difficult when looking at allegory as if it were a set of riddles can be much more fun when we look at it as an opportunity to make connections between all the kinds of things we already know. And the best part is, we know a lot more than we think! We will even try our hand at making little allegorical “frames” of our own.

 

Student Workshop Descriptions: 10:45-12:15

Résumés: Your Key to Gainful Employment—Trisha Capansky

At this point in your life, the most important form of technical communication that you’ll be writing is your résumé. Think about it. That single sheet of paper can determine what kind of car you drive, neighborhood you live in, clothes you wear, food you eat, vacations you take, and the overall quality of life you have. You submit a résumé because you are looking for a particular position within a particular profession, right? Well, if the reader (i.e., your potential employer) rejects the résumé for whatever reason, you won’t be called in for an interview. Thus, there goes your chance at getting the job! This session will provide you with tips on résumé development.

 

“Three Chords and the Truth:” a Songwriting Workshop II—David Carithers

Harlan Howard once described country music as “three chords and the truth,” but the phrase now connotes the raw power of any honest song with a straightforward structure. Power, honesty and simplicity will be our watchwords, then, as we try to find our own “three chords and the truth.” Carithers will discuss his creative influences, offer advice to aspiring songwriters, and share one of his original songs. Participants will then have time to create new songs (in groups or individually) or to revise materials in progress and share their works with the group. Participants are also encouraged to share new material from the workshop at the open mic session at 2:00 p.m. A limited number of instruments will be available (e.g., one or two guitars), so musicians are encouraged to bring their own if possible. No musical training is required for this session, and all styles of music and songwriting are welcome.

 

Word Weaving— A Poetry Workshop—Anna Clark

“The poem,” wrote Wallace Stevens, “refreshes the world.” Inspired by Stevens’ idea that words are a way of expanding the senses, of discovering things and of making them new, participants in this energy-filled workshop will read several poems and write original poems inspired by their reading and the suggested prompts. The general workshop goal will be for each writer to “weave” three refreshingly original pieces. Raise high your pens and pencils and gather in this workshop at the Young Writers Conference to explore, experiment, and create! (Workshop limit: 15)

 

Creative Journaling: Finding Ideas and Your Voice—Tiffany Emerson

Writing in a journal can be used for more than just recording daily events. It can provide a means of discovering a wide wealth of ideas. Throughout our daily lives, we encounter many thoughts and observations that can help us to discover meanings and to make connections. This workshop will introduce aspects of how to become more aware of how to use journal writings to find writing topics and for other meaningful expressions.

 

Writing From Behind The Mask—John Galyean

The main character of your story is right in the room. However, that character is hiding behind a mask. Is “hide” the right word? Do we use masks to hide, to mislead, or to protect our precious identities? Will you be the interviewer, or the person behind the mask? It’s your choice. What is it about masks that intrigue us, frustrate us, even scare us? Interview the masked subject asking any and all things about the subject except what the hidden face looks like. Then write a description of the person’s face in detail, as well as the opening of a story based on the character you have created. Justify your character’s behaviors based only on what you have imagined he or she looks like—behind the mask.

 

“We Wrote it Together”: A Collaborative-Writing Exploration—Heidi Huse

Everyone hates collaborative projects. Well, let’s have some fun writing with other writers for a change, to see how merging your own creative genius with others’ words can sometimes soar beyond what you might have crafted individually. You’ll have a chance to write with classmates, friends, or teachers, as well as with total strangers. And the sky’s the limit for what you can write with others in this workshop: poetry, a short story, a persuasive essay or inspiring speech, or even a one-act screenplay! Then you and your artistic co-creator(s) will have the opportunity to share your work together at the open-mike session after lunch.

 

Roots and Routes: Writing About Place in an Age of Wandering–Leslie LaChance

In this workshop we will explore the long tradition of writing about places both real and imagined. We’ll study examples of poetry and prose from ancient times to the present to discover how writers draw upon the idea of place for image-rich description. We’ll also look at some writing about place from travelers’ perspectives to see what they might teach us about our relationship to those places through which we pass only temporarily. Then we’ll spend some time applying what we’ve learned through drafting some of our own poems or paragraphs about place. We’ll finish up by sharing some of what we’ve written with others in the workshop.

 

Workshop Leaders

Kelle Alden is an Assistant Professor of English and the Director of the Writing Center at UTM. She enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction, and she often takes the opportunity to shamelessly plug the UTM Writing Center, which is free for students and a great place to go for assistance with any part of the writing process.

 

Sally Brannen is a lecturer in English at UT Martin and a recipient of a Kentucky Arts Council grant for her poetry. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Alligator Juniper and Nibble. She received her B.S. in English (Technical Writing) and M.A. in English (Creative Writing) from Murray State University. Her hobbies include collecting antique radioactive Vaseline glass, caring for her semi-feral boyfriend and cats, and practicing a dedicated and passionate avoidance of spiders.

 

Merry Brown was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and now lives in the northwest corner of Tennessee with her husband and three boys. She teaches philosophy at UT Martin, where she counts it a great privilege and joy to introduce students to perennial questions about the nature of the universe, meaning, morality, and the human condition. Merry Brown’s love of philosophy and young adult paranormal fiction inspired her to write her first novel, The Knowers (2012). She is the author of six YA novels and is working on the fourth (and final?) book in the Four Families series.

 

Trisha Capansky teaches technical communication and business writing at UT Martin. Before entering academia, Capansky’s career involved working for several newspapers as a government reporter, and more recently as an urban planner for a municipality where she regulated land use and developed a cleanup program for blighted residential areas. Capansky’s interest in government also involves the application of nation building through communication platforms. Her studies have led to articles about cellular phone and internet usage in South Sudan, and she has a forthcoming book chapter which expands the study to Uganda.

 

David Carithers has taught at UT Martin since 2004, where he is Associate Professor of English, Chair of the Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages, and Director of the West Tennessee Writing Project. David received an M.A. from Western Carolina University and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. David is a member of The House Band, from Martin, TN.

 

Anna Clark, who views teaching, writing, reading, and travel as creative acts, is a recently retired faculty member from the Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages at UTM, where she also served for many years as a coordinator of the Hortense Parrish Writing Center. She earned the M.A. in English from The University of Missouri and did additional graduate work at The University of Mississippi. She taught composition and literature courses at UT Martin and remembers clearly one especially exciting semester (Spring 2015) when she taught poetry workshop at UT Martin. She has led numerous travel-study experiences, and much of her own poetry is inspired by travel. She loves being a part of gatherings when writers are “on fire” with creative ideas.

 

Tiffany Emerson is a teacher. She has held various educational positions. She enjoys all aspects of language learning and helping students to reach their goals and to gain an appreciation of the use of words in their lives. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and poetry, as well as exhibiting appreciation for artistic and cultural events. She has a M.A. in English and a M.S. in Education.

 

Lúcia Flórido, Associate Professor of French. Dr. Flórido’s main academic interests are the literatures from French speaking countries and the existential conflicts Francophone authors convey through their writings. When she is not teaching, reading or doing research, Flórido spends time with her four dogs and bird. She loves animals, and in her spare time, she volunteers with a dog rescue organization.

 

John Galyean is a Consultant in UTM’s Hortense Parrish Writing Center. He is an actor, a director, and a theatre educator, with B.A. degrees in Theatre and Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Theatre from Bowling Green State University. He is the author of a children’s book- length poem: Musk Ox, Marmot, and Pika, Too. John likes to draw cartoons, play guitar and percussion instruments, and worry. Born in Appalachia, John is fond of “snaky” places. He has been known to tell stories.

 

Chris Hill has been at UT Martin for nine years, teaching Shakespeare and Spenser and lot of other old books. He received his Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina in 2005. He is the faculty sponsor for UT Martin’s student publication, Beanswitch. Other interests include bicycles, barbecue, and the beach.

 

Heidi Huse has been teaching writing and rhetoric courses in the UT Martin Department of EMFL for 17 years. She is currently the First-year Composition Coordinator and faculty advisor of the UT Martin chapter of the international English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta. Her own writing centers on reflective and persuasive essays, social advocacy, and rhetorical analysis.

 

Leslie LaChance is a poet, essayist, editor, and educator. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee and teaches film, literature, and writing classes at Volunteer State Community College. She also blogs about living with metastatic lung cancer at https://sojournandstardust.blogspot.com/.

 

Apply Today!

UTM Advantage

 

Transfer Equivalency

UTM Advantage

 

Faculty & Staff Spotlight

See how Educational Outreach faculty are making a difference in the classroom and community.

View Faculty Spotlight >

 

Forgot your password?

Did you forget your My UTMartin Password?

Click here >

Resources