Conference for Readers and Writers

Each year Nimrod hosts our Conference for Readers and Writers in October. The Conference begins with an author reception and chat at Write Night on Friday and continues with an all-day writing conference on Saturday. Saturday’s events feature panel discussions, craft masterclasses in genres ranging from literary fiction and poetry to romance and YA, workshops on aspects of the publishing industry, one-on-one editing sessions, novel-query critiques, readings, and more, all with a fantastic and always changing line-up of guest authors, editors, and agents.

Nimrod Journal‘s in-person 2020 Write Night and Conference for
Readers and Writers is POSTPONED to 2021.

We’ve made the painful decision to postpone this year’s Conference for Readers and Writers due to the outbreak of COVID-19. We feel this decision is inevitable and in the best interest of our guest authors, participants, volunteers, and staff. We will, however, be hosting a series of virtual events during our normal Conference season, with more information on those events below.

In the event we’ve made it through this public health crisis by fall 2021, we hope you’ll be able to join us then for our usual in-person Conference with author-led workshops, panel discussions, one-on-one editing sessions, and novel-query critiques. Next year’s Conference is set for Friday, October 22nd, and Saturday, October 23rd, 2021, and will feature workshops on writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, young adult literature, fantasy, science fiction, and on editing and publishing; panel discussions and readings; and more. We’re also thrilled that the majority of the guests we had slated for this year will be able to join us in 2021. Our confirmed guests so far include:

  • fiction and nonfiction writer Joy Castro, author of Hell or High Water and Nearer Home
  • poet Geffrey Davis, author of Night Angler
  • literary agent Melanie Castillo of Root Literary
  • fiction and nonfiction writer Geeta Kothari, author of I Brake for Moose and Other Stories and editor of The Kenyon Review
  • science fiction writer Arkady Martine, author of A Memory Called Empire
  • young adult writer Laura Ruby, author of Bone Gap

Of course, it’s with much regret that we must postpone this year’s Conference, but we’re looking forward to an even better 2021 Conference. Mark your calendars now, and please stay safe and well. And we hope you get some good writing done in the meantime!

Nimrod‘s 2020 Write Night and Conference for Readers and Writers
will be held as a series of virtual events this fall.

Though we have had to postpone the in-person version of the 2020 Conference, we will be hosting a series of virtual events during our normal Conference season. These events will include writing workshops in a variety of genres; panel discussions; editing and publishing Q&As; and one-on-one editing critiques. The majority of these online events will be free and open to the public, with the full schedule available in September. Keep checking back for more information!

  • Past Conferences: 2019 Conference Schedule

    Nimrod Write Night

    Friday, October 18th, 2019
    Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
    2445 S. Peoria Ave.

    Author Reception and Chat
    with Contest Judges Kim Addonizio and Margot Livesey

    Join us for the Conference kick-off at Write Night 2019! At Write Night you can mingle with all our Conference guest authors during our Author Reception, featuring delicious food from Duet, and then join us for a special Author Chat with poet Kim Addonizio and fiction writer Margot Livesey.

    Author Reception (Light Bites and Cash Bar): 6:30-7:00 p.m.
    Author Chat and Book Signing: 7:00-8:30 p.m.

    Write Night is presented in conjunction with Magic City Books and co-sponsored by The University of Tulsa’s Creative Writing Program.

    Write Night is FREE and open to the public. 


    Conference for Readers and Writers

    Saturday, October 19th, 2019
    The University of Tulsa
    Allen Chapman Student Union
    440 S. Gary Ave.
    Tulsa, OK 74104

    Join us for a full day of panel discussions, writing workshops in multiple genres, one-on-one editing sessions, novel-query critiques, and readings led by acclaimed authors, editors, and agents at our 41st annual Conference for Readers and Writers.



    Early Bird Registration:
    Open through Sept. 14th: $50.00
    Regular Registration: Open Sept 15th – Oct. 15th: $60.00
    Scholarship Applicant Regular Registration: Open through Oct. 15th: $10.00

    Late Registration Prices: $70 (regular) and $15 (scholarship) at the door.
    Please note that we can accept cash or checks for Late Registration Conference fees, but not credit cards. There is, however, an ATM on the first floor of the Student Union, located on the east side of the building near the Chick-fil-A, and we encourage participants to utilize it if needed before coming upstairs to the Late Registration table, located on the east side of the upper floor.

    Register Online for the Conference

    Printable Registration Form

    Conference Schedule

    9:30 a.m.: LATE REGISTRATION 

    10:00 a.m.: PANEL DISCUSSIONS (Concurrent Sessions)

    Trigger Warning: How We Write the Hard Stuff
    Steve Bellin-Oka, Rachel Howzell Hall, Matt W. Miller, Francine Ringold

    Writing about traumatic topics—from the actual writing to presenting that work to readers—can be challenging. Our authors will discuss how they write about the hard stuff, how to frame difficult stories to enact empowerment and agency, and more.

    Timely vs. Timeless: Balancing Hot Topics and Lasting Literature
    Rhys Martin, Anna-Marie McLemore, Katy Mullins, Robert Thomas, Jonathan Wei

    We’ve all read work that obviously was timely when it was written but that feels dated or out of touch a few years later. Our authors will discuss how they strike a balance between what’s topical and what’s timeless, techniques they use to make sure their presentation of “hot” subject matter will be relevant in years to come, and more.

    Editing and Publishing: Q&A
    Kim Addonizio, Margot Livesey, Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Eilis O’Neal, Jennifer Udden

    Have questions about getting your work ready to submit or about the publishing industry in general? Our authors, editors, and agent will answer audience questions about anything and everything publishing. Editing, revising, the role of literary agents, writing query letters, traditional vs. small press vs. self-publishing, using social media—it’s all on the table in this open Q&A session!

    M.F.A. and M.A. Programs: Are They Right for You?
    Traci Brimhall, D. E. Chandler, John Moessner, Colin Pope, Vilune Sestokaite

    Though a degree in Creative Writing is by no means necessary to be a “real writer,” it’s a path that can improve your writing, let you learn from the best, and lead to lasting connections between both students and faculty. Our panelists will discuss their experiences with their degree programs, including the types of degrees available, how they chose their schools, how they funded their education, why (and why not) to get a degree in Creative Writing, and more.

    10:45 a.m.: MORNING WORKSHOPS (Concurrent Sessions)

    Hush, Shut Up, Please Be Quiet: How to Write Better Dialogue — Margot Livesey
    Hush. Please be quiet. Put a sock in it. May I kindly have your attention? These all convey the same basic request, but they convey it very differently, with nuances that give us key insights into the speakers via their dialogue. We’ll discuss dialogue, when and how to write it, and how to make it sparkle.

    Persona Poems: Speaking in Someone Else’s Voice — Jeanetta Calhoun Mish
    Persona poems, in the form of dramatic monologues or “alter-ego” poems, may appear simple on the surface, but creating and maintaining a consistent persona that feels compelling and authentic to the reader can be difficult. We’ll take a look at successful persona poems, talk about why they work, and write some of our own.

    Triggering Tulsa: Finding and Honing the Poetry of Place — Matt W. Miller and Robert Thomas
    Tyler Malone wrote, “The city is character; it breathes its own life, speaks in its own tongue, moves to its own rhythms.” We’ll explore the ways in which we use image, language, form, and sound to portray our neighborhoods, our towns, and our cities. We’ll look for ways to capture the truth of a place and its people in poetry and how to resist sentimentality while welcoming a place’s own particular mythology.

    Unpossessed: Reconsidering the Demonized in YA and Speculative Fiction — Anna-Marie McLemore
    The wicked queen. The madwoman in the attic. The Black Swan. The tension in archetypal stories often hinges on the demonization of a particular kind of character. But what do we learn by reconsidering these characters? What do they become when we look past their traditional roles? By reexamining a few archetypal figures, we’ll explore ways to deepen both protagonists and antagonists.

    The Way We See Now: Poems and Stories Inspired by Art — Francine Ringold
    The tradition of ekphrastics, poems and stories inspired by works of visual art, is an adventure in collaboration. Light, line, color, and form speak of things beyond the subject being photographed or painted, offering a wealth of material to writers. We’ll explore ways to combine art with fiction and poetry in ways that surprise and delight.

    Publishing: Contracts 101 — Jennifer Udden
    So you’ve sold your story/poem/novel—or hope to sell one in the future. But with a sale comes a contract, and the density of information about rights, territories, options, non-compete clauses, etc., can be daunting to new—and even seasoned—writers. We’ll discuss the basic structure of a publishing contract, aiming to demystify this important aspect of the publishing world.


    1:35 p.m.: AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS (Concurrent Sessions)

    Revise Your Poem Without Killing It — Kim Addonizio
    Okay, sometimes you have to kill it, but there’s a lot you can try before taking your poem off life-support. We’ll talk about obstacles to revision as well as look at some strategies that can make it fun to wade back into a poem. We’ll also take a look at some revisions, large and small, by other writers, to see how their decisions made their work stronger.

    Then There Was the Bad Weather: Opening Your Story — Jonathan Wei
    A story’s opening is its handshake, a first impression that needs to engage the narrative and engage the reader. What makes an opening work or not? We’ll talk about the many details that come together for a great opening in fiction—point of view, concealment/revelation, characterization, voice, scene, and more—and how to use them to pull the reader into your story.

    I’m Not Throwing Away . . . My Plot — Rachel Howzell Hall
    We often think about plot as one of the most vital aspects of a good mystery novel. But mysteries are more than plots. They’re also character, setting, and voice. Learn about each element of mystery—and leave with a few writing hacks and a clearer vision of the story you want to tell.

    Crowdsourcing Research: Creative Nonfiction — Rhys Martin
    Research is one of the bywords of writing creative nonfiction, but what do you do when your pool of traditional resources is shallow? We’ll dig into the research process and the evolving role of social media and other crowdsourcing in popular research and how they can make all sorts of creative nonfiction stronger.

    Writing Companions: The Joy of Minds Creating Together — Sara N. Beam and Holly Clay-Buck
    Sometimes two minds are better than one. Collaborative writing can open new doors for writers, but writing collaboratively can be a skill all on its own. We’ll share information about working together during the entire writing process, managing time for two, making use of digital tools to work together at a distance, and more. This workshop is suitable for writers of all genres and writers with and without current collaborators. Writers with current collaborators are encouraged to attend with their partner if possible.

    Novel-Query Critique Sessions — Jennifer Udden
    Meet one on one with literary agent Jennifer Udden for a critique of your one-page query letter for your novel. Pre-registration is required and materials must be received by October 12th. Each session is 5 minutes long. Novels may be in any genre. Sessions are limited—enroll early to ensure a spot.


    Invitational Readings
    Rachel Howzell Hall, Rhys Martin, Anna-Marie McLemore, Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Francine Ringold

    One-on-One Editing Sessions
    Meet one on one with a Nimrod editor who will help you revise your work. Submit 2-3 pages of poetry or 4-5 pages of fiction or nonfiction. Pre-registration is required and materials must be received by October 12th. Each session is 15 minutes long.

    4:00 p.m.: BOOK SIGNING

    Workshop Leaders


    Kim Addonizio, judge for Nimrod’s 2019 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, is the author of seven poetry collections, most recently Mortal Trash: Poems, as well as two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and she was a National Book Award Finalist for her collection Tell Me.

    Sara N. Beam is on the faculty of English at The University of Tulsa, where she also serves as the Writing Program Director. She is the lead editor of and a contributor to Voices from the Heartland, vol. 2, an anthology of Oklahoma women’s personal stories. She is a member of the Nimrod Editorial Board.

    Steve Bellin-Oka is the author of a chapbook of poems, Dead Letter Office at North Atlantic Station. His first book of poems, Instructions for Seeing a Ghost, won the 2019 Vassar Miller Prize from the University of North Texas Press. He is a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellow in poetry and a member of the Nimrod Editorial Board.

    Traci Brimhall is an associate professor and director of creative writing at Kansas State University. She is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Saudade. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Orion, The Nation, Poetry, and Best American Poetry.

    D.E. Chandler is in her third semester at the Red Earth Low Residency M.F.A. for Creative Writing at Oklahoma City University. She is the author of Bone Sliver and Nova Wave, and her short works have appeared in the Tulsa Review, Blackbird’s Third Flight, and other publications.

    Holly Clay-Buck is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Developmental Studies at Rogers State University. Her focuses in writing are organization, simplification, and emotional provocation.

    Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of five mystery novels, including the Detective Elouise Norton series and, most recently, They All Fall Down. She was a contributor to NPR’s Crime in the City series, and she serves on the Board of Directors for the Mystery Writers of America.

    Margot Livesey, judge for Nimrod’s 2019 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, is the author of eight novels, most recently Mercury, as well as a short story collection and a book of essays. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others, and she currently teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

    Rhys Martin is the author of the nonfiction book Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. A travel writer and photographer, he has had work featured in several publications, including Tulsa People Magazine, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World.

    Anna-Marie McLemore is the author of four young adult fantasy novels, most recently Blanca and Roja. Her first novel, The Weight of Feathers, was a William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist, and When the Moon Was Ours was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature.

    Matt W. Miller is the 2019 Second Prize winner of Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. He is the author of The Wounded for the Water, Club Icarus, and Cameo Diner.

    Jeanetta Calhoun Mish is the author of three books of poetry, most recently What I Learned at the War. She was a winner of the Oklahoma Book Award for her collection Work Is Love Made Visible, was appointed Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate in 2017, and is the founding editor of Mongrel Empire Press.

    John Moessner received his M.F.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2018 and served as the Writers for Readers Fellow at Literacy KC from 2017 to 2018. His poems have appeared or will appear in American Chordata, Natural Bridge, I-70 Review, River Styx, and The Main Street Rag.

    Katy Mullins’s short fiction has been published in journals such as Bayou Magazine, Crack the Spine, Inscape Magazine, and South Dakota Review. She is a member of the Nimrod Editorial Board.

    Eilis O’Neal, Nimrod’s Editor-in-Chief, is the author of the young adult fantasy novel The False Princess. Her short fantasy has appeared in Strange Horizons, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and other publications.

    Colin Pope holds an M.F.A. from Texas State University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Oklahoma State. His debut poetry collection, Why I Didn’t Go to Your Funeral, was a finalist for the Press 53 Award. He is a member of the Nimrod Editorial Board.

    Francine Ringold, Nimrod’s Senior Advisory Editor, completed two terms as Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate. She is a two-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award. Her latest books are From Birth to Birth: My Memoir—and a Guide for Yours and The Way We See Now, a collaboration of art and poetry.

    Vilune Sestokaite is a candidate for her M.A. in English with a focus in Creative Writing at Kansas State University. Her preferred genre is creative non-fiction, where she enjoys exploring her Lithuanian-American and first-generation identity.

    Robert Thomas is the 2019 First Prize winner of Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. He is the author of two books of poetry, most recently Dragging the Lake, and the lyrical novella Bridge.

    Jennifer Udden is an agent with New Leaf Literary. She previously worked as an agent with Barry Goldblatt Literary and Donald Maas Literary Agency, and she is the co-host (with Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary) of the podcast Shipping & Handling.

    Jonathan Wei is the 2019 First Prize Winner of Nimrod’s Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. His work has appeared in the Village Voice, Iowa Review, North American Review, Glimmer Train, and other publications.

    A supplement to the biographical notes will be available at the conference and will introduce our one-on-one editors in more detail.

    Additional Information

    Saturday Conference registration includes workshops, panel discussions, readings, lunch (including vegetarian options), query sessions, and one-on-one editing sessions.

    Pre-registration is required for participation in one-on-one editing sessions and novel-query critique sessions and must be received along with your work by Oct. 12th. One-on-one sessions and novel-query critique sessions are limited, so register early to ensure a spot. All panel discussions and group classes are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Registrants may attend one morning panel discussion, one morning masterclass, and one afternoon masterclass, as well as the entire reading from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. and the book signing afterward.  Afternoon one-on-one editing participants may move from their sessions to the Invitational Readings as time permits.

    Scholarships to attend are available, particularly for students. For scholarship information, call 918-631-3080 or email

    Professional development credit is available for Tulsa Public Schools teachers.


    Hotel Information

    The Hyatt Regency at 100 E. 2nd St. in downtown Tulsa is the official Conference hotel. Conference attendees can receive a discounted hotel rate of $101 per night. To make a booking with this special rate, please use the following link. Rooms must be reserved by September 30th to receive this special rate.

    After that time, we recommend any downtown hotel, most of which are a five-minute drive to campus, or the Campbell Hotel for those who wish to be within walking distance of campus.



    Conference guests can park in any lot at TU. Nearby parking lots include the Union Lot, the McFarlin Library Lot, and the LPC lot (all circled in red in the FAQ question below), followed by the 4th and College South Lot, and the Keplinger/Law School Lot at Florence and 4th Pl. (Please note that the Union Lot is small, and we request that those who are able to walk farther allow those with less mobility to park there.) For a map of TU’s campus and parking options, please see our FAQ below.


  • Will there be vegetarian options available at lunch?

    Yes. We offer a vegetarian sandwich, as well as vegetarian sides and cookies. If you have special dietary needs beyond this, please email our staff at with your specific needs.

  • Where can I park on the TU campus?

    Conference guests can park in any lot at TU. Nearby parking lots include the Union Lot, the McFarlin Library Lot and the LPC Lot, followed by the 4th and College South Lot, and the Keplinger/Law School Lot at Florence and 4th Pl. (Please note that the Union Lot is small, and we request that those who are able to walk farther allow those with less mobility to park there.) You can view a map of TU below, with the nearest lots circled in red, or view parking options here.



    Parking Map of TU

  • I’m from out of town. Where should I stay overnight?

    Hotel information for 2020 TBA.

  • Who are the scholarships to attend for? How can I get one?

    Part of our commitment to the discovery and promotion of new writers is to make sure that all writers who wish to attend the Conference can, regardless of income. Scholarship registration is open to writers of all ages. Our only request is that, if you are able to pay the standard registration fee, you do so, knowing that these fees allow us to host the Conference and are part of what allow us to offer scholarships to other writers. If, however, the standard registration fee would pose a financial burden for you, we encourage you to register as a scholarship student.


    Pre-registration for scholarship recipients is $10, and Late Registration is $15. If you register online, there will be a box to select this option and a form to briefly explain your reason for seeking a scholarship. If you are registering by mail, please select the scholarship payment option and include a short note briefly explaining your reason for seeking a scholarship, In either case, if you are a student, please also include your school’s name.

  • I’ve never been to a writing conference. What should I bring?

    We recommend that you bring a notebook and a writing utensil, as many workshops will offer writing exercises. We will have water and coffee available throughout the day; feel free to bring your own cup/thermos to reduce waste.

  • I’ve just started writing or thinking about writing. Is this conference for me?

    Yes. Our conference is designed to accommodate writers from all backgrounds and publication histories, including those who are just starting out.

  • I’ve published widely and have established myself as a writer. Will I get something out of this conference?

    Yes. Our conference is designed to accommodate writers from all backgrounds and publication histories. While we offer workshops and classes that are accessible to beginning writers, our workshop leaders and guests work to meet writers at any stage in their careers. Some workshops might appeal more to beginners than to experienced writers, and vice versa, but all workshops are designed with diversity and accessibility in mind. And the conference is a great place for networking, too!

  • I’m a high school student/college student/adult/senior citizen. Will there be other people my age at the conference?

    Yes. We have participants of all ages at the conference, from high school students to senior citizens and everyone in between.

  • I have trouble walking at length. Will I be able to get around easily at the conference?

    Registration and some classes/events will take place on the second floor of the Allen Chapman Student Union, but some classes will take place in an adjacent building. If you require special assistance to reach classes outside the main building, or have any other special needs, please let us know so we can make arrangements to assist you, or speak to a volunteer at the registration table if you are attending Late Registration. The Student Union elevator is located on the west side of the building, across from Subway.

  • Will there be wifi at the Conference?

    TU does have a guest wifi network that Conference participants may connect to: TUGuest. Please note, though, that is can be a little spotty in the Student Union, so we can’t guarantee access at any given time.

  • I'm still nervous about attending! Help!

    Don’t be nervous. Really! Our conference is a relaxed, informal, and just plain fun day. We don’t stand on ceremony here, and there will be writers of all ages, experience levels, and publishing histories joining us. We often hear from attendees that they’ve met new writing friends and partners at the conference, but you can also fly solo if that’s more your style. So come out and give the conference a try–we think you’ll like it. And if there are any questions that we can answer to make you feel more comfortable, please email or call us and we’ll happily chat with you.