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Dalton, PA 18414

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HomeControl PanelCustom PagesPennwriters 36th Annual Conference Overview (Copy)

36th Annual Pennwriters Conference, 2023

The 36th Annual Pennwriters Conference is coming your way beginning at 9 AM Friday, May 19 and running through Sunday, May 21 at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott Hotel 2023 Conference (412-788-8800), and also for the intensives that will be held the day before the conference. 

There are: More workshops, brand-new presenters, in-person and online pitching opportunities, lots of time for networking, and a chance to get to the next level in your writing career.  

Our conference pricing structure offers three-day, two-day, and single-day prices. The full three-day conference fee includes the following:
  • Saturday General Meeting with breakfast
  • Saturday Keynote Lunch with Madhu Bazaz Wangu
  • Saturday Night Social
  • Pitch appointments with agents (first registered, first assigned)
  • Friday Night Read & Critique
You can enhance your conference experience with these add-on items:
  • Pre-conference full day and half day intensive workshops on May 18
  • Friday Networking Luncheon
  • Friday Keynote Dinner with Lesa Cline-Ransome
Download the 2023 Conference Schedule
Download 2023 Presenter and Agent Bios

Here are some of the highlights:

Keynote Speakers

Just like in years past, attendees can enjoy our Friday evening and Saturday Keynote speakers. Lesa Cline-Ransomewill present the Friday Keynote address and Madhu Bazaz Wangu will present the Saturday luncheon address. Read more about the Conference Keynote speakers and  their presentations.

Pitch an Agent or Editor
See 2023 Presenter and Agent Bios here

Read and Critique

Get feedback on your WIP Friday evening after the keynote! Once again, there will be a Read and Critique opportunity for all conference attendees. Everyone is welcome even if you haven't submitted a written piece. Submission spots are limited, so make sure to choose this option during registration.


This year's conference will feature workshops lead by experienced instructors. Check back as workshops and presenter bios are updated on the 2023 Presenter Bios/Classes page. Attendees will have a choice between multiple workshops each hour of the conference.

Annual General Meeting

Saturday morning will start with the Annual General Meeting for all members. We hope you'll attend.

Writing Intensives

Full Day:  Julie Anne Lindsey
Plot Like A Pro
Join award-winning and bestselling author, Julie Anne Lindsey, as she unpacks the elements of plot. Discover how to use prep work and critical thinking to move your story from concept to completion with these tried and true techniques. You’ll leave class plotting like a pro!

What You Will Learn:
Maximize your writing time
Avoiding plot holes & other pitfalls
Work now so you can write later
Get that story out of your head and onto pages
Who should take this class?
Writers struggling to finish their first novel
Experienced authors who want to increase productivity
Writers dreaming of a series rapid launch
Writers stuck in their story’s murky middle with no idea how to get out
Anyone struggling to make the most of their writing time
Everyone who’s ready to move their manuscript from concept to completion with a compelling plot and sensational story arcs

Julie Anne Lindsey is a bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than fifty books since her debut in 2013 and currently produces 6-8 novels a years, writing series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names for various traditional publishers. Julie has won multiple awards for her writing, including the National Readers Choice Award, the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Mystery & Suspense, and the 2019 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.

Half Day (morning):  Marissa DeCuir
Creating an Author Success Map: a three-step process for identifying, personalizing and working toward success benchmarks in your writing career.

Whether you're traditionally published, self-published, or something in between, promotional opportunities are endless and can feel overwhelming. But having represented over 1,300 books, Marissa DeCuir of literary publicity firm Books Forward, breaks down the tools you need to introduce your book in the marketplace with a bang and elevate your author brand. You'll want to have a concrete, actionable plan for creating the most possible fanfare for your book's birthday. And this intensive will take you step-by-step for setting you and your book up for success.

What You'll learn:
Where to start, and how to come up with goals
What to prioritize, and tips for every budget
What you can do on your own, and what you may need help with.
And you'll leave with actionable items to work toward both your short- and long-term goals, whether that's building a readership, aiming for bestseller status, garnering media coverage, reaching booksellers and librarians, or boosting your overall brand.

Marissa DeCuir is the president and partner of Books Forward publicity and Books Fluent publishing. She has helped more than 700 authors launch over 1,300 books and elevate their writing careeWs. As a former journalist, she’s always looking for the best hooks to utilize in author publicity and book marketing and believes in taking a personal and strategic can-do approach to help authors reach their goals.

Half Day (afternoon)
Cindy Callaghan
Selling Your Story: The Art of Pitching Successfully to Film and TV Outlets

Cindy Callaghan is a concept person. After she wrote her very popular Just Add Magic middle grade series, she saw the potential in it, and knew it could work on a larger scale. It turned out she was right. Just Add Magic was developed into an Emmy-nominated Amazon Original series, and her award-winning Saltwater Secrets is currently with a major studio. So, how did she do it? How did Cindy go from a cute, middle grade novel about a magical cookbook to an Emmy-nominated series?

In this half-day intensive workshop, Cindy will share her story and give you an overview of the entire process. She’ll teach you how to write a pitch document, help you get your own document started, and give you an overview of the strategies best utilized to discover pitchable leads. She’ll also give you advice regarding pitch delivery, and assist you with strengthening your own impact. This will be a hands-on class, and you will leave with the basics of a workable pitch document in your possession. Cindy’s strategies will give you the tools you need to pitch your stories, sell your ideas, and turn your vision for your books into a reality.

Delawarian Cindy Callaghan is the award-winning author of eleven MG novels including JUST ADD MAGIC which was developed into an Emmy-nominated Amazon Original series. Her award-winning book SALTWATER SECRETS is set up by a major studio and she’s engaged in several shopping agreements with production companies. Her most recent releases THE GIRL WHO RUINED CHRISTMAS and MY BIG HEART-SHAPED FAIL, (September 2022), are actively being shopped to producers, networks and streamers along with Cindy’s robust portfolio of original IP.

We hope you'll join us in May for the 36th Annual Pennwriters Conference!